More than 2000 years after Aristotle declared tragedy superior to comedy, humor in poetry still gets, if not exactly no respect, not very much. Mainstream verse has partially absorbed the influence of stand up poetry; but it does so apologetically: “So-and-So is funny sometimes, true. But he can really write.” Yet comedy may be better-suited than tragedy to capture the absurdities, enormities, and pathos of 21st century life. Humor also deals effectively with the philosophical and political concerns addressed by the often obscure and difficult avant-garde; and it does so without sacrificing readability. Mark Halliday's poems are a case in point, their humor and entertainment value inseparable from a seriousness which sheds considerable light on the problems of being human in the post-modern world.
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