Sometimes metaphysical, sometimes apparently confessional, sometimes challenging, often hilarious, Mark Waldron's poems take you by the arm and usher you in to a dark/light, funny/sad, silly/serious world which is exactly what the actual world looks like if you creep up on it and take it by surprise. As human beings living in society we’re supposed to keep what we really think hidden, but the poems of Sweet, like Rinky-Dink want to look at the absurdity behind our posturing, because in looking at it squarely in the face we might hope to have some freedom from it. Sweet, like Rinky-Dink is Mark Waldron’s fourth collection, following Meanwhile, Trees (2016), published by Bloodaxe, The Brand New Dark (2008) and The Itchy Sea (2011), both from Salt.
I get nervous for Mark Waldron's readers – I can hear them begin to laugh a little, becoming too comfortable too quickly, while reading a poem of his and I want to warn them. I want to yell at them to get out of the way, tell them that what's really happening is that they are about to get their hearts broken. Poor monkeys. -- Matthew Dickman
Clearly, Waldron has enough wit and imagination to sink a battleship, but perhaps the most interesting thing about his work is the use to which he puts features widely disseminated in contemporary poetry: randomness, whimsy, play and inconsequence…. When Waldron exploits these traits and turns them inside out, he shows an impressive elegance and rhetorical power, sustained despite a blizzard of broken registers and bits of this and that. His work reveals an authority it might at first seem far from seeking. The outcome is poetry that might count for something. -- Sean O’Brien * Guardian *
His special skill is comedy, but not the standup sort. His speakers expose themselves self-accusingly, defiantly, or bashfully, while at the same time seeming snug as bugs in their tightly interlocked chainmail of precise language…. And there lies the delight of the collection: it gives us a rare sense of the Elizabethan richness of an English that’s available right now. Underneath the defamiliarising ingenuity, the political pretension-pricking and all the narrative verve and swerve, the diction is the real star of this invigorating book. -- Carol Rumens * Observer, Poetry Book of the Month *