Book Added Go to checkout. x

On the Cusp of Greatness

by Mark Waddell

'Everyone raised their drinks and shouted *me too*.'

Irreverent, often funny and always surprising, On the Cusp of Greatness is Mark Waddell’s first collection of poetry – filled with lively, spiky writing that seems to have just walked off the stage, accompanied by the author’s own ‘hare-brained’ illustrations.

Sticking two mischievous fingers up to power and the way things are ‘supposed to be’, Mark tackles space travel and sellotape with a motion of his pen, arctic blizzards and suicidal possums with another, whilst generally waving the flag for pleasure and all that is good in the world.

Readers will learn of the redemptive power of flight, why three is the ideal number of Bob Marleys to have in your kitchen, but also why these days, the narrator feels sick ‘just looking at’ a particular type of crisp. This will be the most fun you’ve had with thirty-five pieces of paper in years.

‘Amazing writing. Just mind-blowing.’
RJ Ellory

‘Irreverent and sophisticated humour’
Jeremy Page

‘Cuts to the chase like Bukowski’
Stephen Jones

‘If the world were full of Mark Waddells, it would definitely be a happier place.’
Ariane Sherine, The Huffington Post

‘Mark Waddell is a poet who makes people glad to be alive, while waking them up to their own absurdity.’
– Susannah Herbert, National Poetry Day


Mark Waddell is a new breed of comedy-poet-libertine for a modern generation. His fiction has been published in the UK and Philippines and his poems have appeared in Great Poets of the 21st Century by The Imaginary Press.

More at home in a bar than a library, Mark takes his poems to the masses with his live shows. Sometimes he is thrown off stage, sometimes people fight over his poems; some of his poems have punchlines, sometimes no punches are pulled. Once a regular performer at The Torriano, the legendary London venue known for performances by Pete Doherty, Noel Fielding, Scott McMahon and Lianne La Havas, he cut his teeth with the wildest.

Mark is also known for the street signs that keep popping up across London’s Kentish Town. A passer-by named Cuthbert, with an impressive intergalactic afro hair-do, said to him one morning, ‘you’ve made my day’ – whilst staring up at a sign that read ‘on the cusp of greatness’. He hopes his first poetry collection, of the same name, will do the same for you; along with a second collection due in June 2021.


Edition: Paperback

Date Published: 2016-04-28

ISBN: 9781908853646

Catalogue Number: VP0081

Number of Pages: 70

Cover design by Jamie McGarry

Cover photograph by the author

Be part of our story. Join the Valley Press newsletter.