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Familiar Strangers

Familiar Strangers

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Familiar Strangers is Brendan Kennelly's own selection from over 20 poetry books written over five decades. This landmark volume replaces his earlier selections A Time for Voices, Breathing Spaces and Begin.

But Kennelly has revisited his life work, re-scoring familiar and estranged pieces into new gatherings which reflect his preoccupations more powerfully, bringing together poems from different times ñ and adding many new, previously lost or uncollected poems ñ so that they speak in chorus like the generations of people they celebrate.

"Newspapers celebrate greatness, heroism, achievement and genius in our midst, but sometimes don't pay sufficient attention to the real heroes who matter to us; the people who make a serious contribution to a nation's mental and spiritual well-being... A giant in this area is Brendan Kennelly. He is the people's poet. He spends his life wondering and thinking and daring to think and see differently. He also asks impossible questions and suggests unthinkable answers about the things that really matter. And he refuses to be precious or out of touch with the rest of us."
Jim Farrelly, Editor-in-Chief, Sunday Tribune

"Once I have finished the first section... I feel that initial excitement for poetry fire up again."
Leanne O'Sullivan, The Irish Times

"With considerable honesty and bravery Kennelly enters and becomes others in order to perceive, understand and sufferÖ always moving, probing and doubting, never willing or able to settle on any one certaintyÖ There is clash and conflict, cruelty and irony, sardonic wit, passion."
Aidan Murphy

"He lets us watch as he stands bowlegged at a crossroads in time and culture, playing stretch with knives of fear and faith, irony and soul, the fist of vision, the hard-nose of reality."

"Kennelly's capacity to strip himself and fight in naked combat with the giants that plague us, make him Ireland's most endearing and reckless poet."
Mark Patrick Hederman

"A very singular voice which owes nothing really to anybody, except to Kennelly's spiritual and geographical origins and, of course, to his own people."
John B. Keane

"His poems shine with the wisdom of somebody who has thought deeply about the paradoxical strangeness and familiarity and wonder of life."
Sister Stanislaus Kennedy