Houghton Piker (1962 - 2009)

According to Mr. Piker, who is cavalier at best when it comes to his biography, he was first struck with the poetry bug when he lived in the crawl space beneath his family's house, in much the same manner as Bad Ronald. One night, struggling to get to sleep by the hum of the central air conditioning that was keeping every one else upstairs cozy, he came up with a silly rhyme. Of this very momentous moment, he told a reporter, ''I don't remember at all what the rhyme was. Can't you make one up that sounds good?'' You may believe this version of events, or you may believe his older brother, Neap, who says, ''Hough was a spoiled brat. If Mother made meatloaf, he'd turn his plate over and demand vichyssoise.'' Mr. Piker calls this a fabrication, to which Neap replies, ''Yeah. Ask him who got a copper sitz bath for his thirteenth birthday.'' Whatever the truth, this we can say with certainty, Mr. Piker was one of the first publishers of asinine poetry. His journal of asinine poetry first appeared in 1996; it gathered the then-unpublished (some would say unpublishable) works of Arthur Radley, Phillip Lee, Catty Marlboro, and He Who Shall Not Be Named. Now, settling reluctantly into middle age, Mr. Piker lives happily in Brooklyn. A unrepentant foot wrestler, Mr. Piker describes his beloved wife as ''my hippopotamus, my friend.'' He enjoys exchanging undergarments with her -- ''except for one pink pair she's got. I don't look good in pink.'' They live in a brownstone, along with a new Albanian hamster named Stuart. For more on Mr. Piker, read the asinine spotlight interview with him.