Originally from Northern Ireland, Brendan Cleary is one of the UK’s most instinctively gifted poets and a master of the art of teaching poetry. His early work deals with his childhood in a region where 'Despair, like rust, / is contagious', but life in an England of broken ideals and rampant class prejudice comes in for equally biting treatment in poems such as 'Newcastle is Benidorm' and 'Rose'. Honed by his experience as a live performer, his lyrics have a hard-hitting immediacy as he questions his place in the world around him and his affiliation to the culture and traditions of his country of birth. These are not poems for the fainthearted, but they provide insights into the human spirit simply not on offer in the work of less courageous artists.
He launched his poetic career as editor of the punky DIY magazine The Echo Room and went on to publish extensively in journals, anthologies and in single-author collections such as Tears in the Burger Store (1985), White Bread and ITV (1990), The Irish Card (1993), Stranger in the House (2001), Jackson (2004) and some turbulant weather (2008). Tall Lighhouse recently published Brendan's goin' down slow: selected poems 1985-2010 including some of the poems from Jackson.
Pighog published Cleary’s The Poet’s Notebook as an exclusive series of updates on its Twitter profile.
Cleary published the full collection Face with Pighog in September 2013.