Round about 2015, I picked up a copy of Martin’s The Gracing of Days. Later that year, at a poetry festival, I came across some back copies of Joe Soap’s Canoe, the magazine Martin edited for a long time. I’d uncovered buried treasure. I didn’t really know much about the author before then, except that I’d read some of his reviews. Let’s face it, Martin doesn’t hold back. As for poetry, that lovely little pamphlet was a special joy. I should also say his recent translations of classical Chinese poetry are sublime.
By some strange synchronicity, we had both had writing friends in Nottingham, where Martin used to live before he went to China. Then a few years ago he moved back to the city and we kept bumping into each other at poetry events. Then we became matey.
Martin has a unique voice which stands out from most poetry; kind of serious in a funny way and vice versa. It’s incredibly hard for me to describe Martin’s work but I’ll go with this, as the man himself endorsed this view: Martin writes poetry which is very personal in an entirely non-personal way. No explanations needed. He’s also a lovely bloke. He’s a great fan of cats. He has a terrific music collection too.
Even if you’re underwhelmed by your own birthday, Martin, I wish you a very happy day!
Copyright © Maria Taylor, 2022