Halliday is a US poet, once of two published by HappenStance (Marcia Menter is the other one). A professor at the University of Ohio, he is author of five previous books of poetry. This is his first UK collection, though he came to the notice of British and European readers through poems in several issues of Poetry Review and appearances at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival (2003) and Snape Poetry Prom (2004).
He isn’t easy to categorize. Though described by poet David Graham as one of the ‘ablest practicitioners’ of the ‘ultra-talk poem’ (a term coined by no other than Halliday himself), ultra-talk is only one of the things he does. Intensely conscious of the presumption of the twentieth century poetic stance, he wriggles under his own critical microscope. He is witty, wayward, sardonic and serious.
This is what he says himself: "On the one hand, I certainly want my poems to be readable by 'the general reader' insofar as such persons exist; at the same time, let's not pretend that most of our serious readers are not poets. Poetry does seem to be a relatively cultish art (as compared to fiction-writing or filmmaking), in the sense that one's small audience is mostly obsessive characters who think every day about poetry; hence the poetry-life is a big part of our real lives; hence the real life of reading and writing poetry is an ample and rich terrain for poems to explore—as convincingly and revealingly as possible."
Publications by Mark Halliday:
PoetryNo Panic Here, HappenStance (2009)
Wired for Books – audio and print versions. (http://wiredforbooks.org/markhalliday/)