Brendan Cleary is a part-time lecturer, poet and stand-up comic. Sacrilege is his first book-length poetry collection since The Irish Card was published to acclaim in 1994.'
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Here is a talent going to waste' -- PN REVIEW
Cleary, an Irishman living in Britain, writes in a lighthearted and unassuming voice that manages to be at once homely and ironic - an unusually winning combination. As a performance artist, he obviously learned how to play to an audience, and his work possesses a directness that brings the reader into the poetry in a marvelously vivid way. Much of the attention is centered, in the best twentysomething style, on women and drink, and if Cleary's tone tends to mimic the ennui of the aging rocker ("Traces of cocaine on a dog-eared limited edition / rumours in tabloids he'd trashed his hotel room again?"), he has at least the grace of verisimilitude. Although the Irish side of the writer gets pretty short play, by and large, there is an unmistakably Celtic edge to Cleary's humor ("It could have happened to a priest, well if priests took Speed / & priests tried to expose themselves to pizza waitresses") that marks his verse. His is preeminently poetry of the young, and like much young poetry it bears a heavy strain of romanticism ("a kiss for your / sad eyelids / a rainbow looms / above the bustle / of the city / reflections in oil / puddles & cold / sunshine in shadows / have faith / have no fear") but with enough self-conscious levity mixed in ("At Grassy's party, locked in the bathroom, I asked to see your breasts") to keep the ball rolling. (Kirkus Reviews)