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Everything is connected. So, to understand anything one
must understand everything. And so, when a 69-yearold
man decides to comprehend the minutiae of an
ordinary day it is necessary for him to understand his life
also, which in turn entails understanding the history of
the universe, though only from the Big Bang on.
Michael Foley weaves together these three strands in
the story of a transformation from youthful despising
through mid-life failure to affirming age. The poem
draws on history, philosophy, science, quest sagas, the
film Shane and much else, addressing the perennial
issues of time, mortality, love and the search for
meaning, while also refreshing everyday experiences
such as making coffee, supermarket shopping and the
major adventures of sharpening a pencil and chopping
carrots. By turns lyrical, aphoristic, erotic and witty,
The Whole Thing drives forward with characteristic
energy and exuberance.
'The Whole Thing is the kind of ambitious, rigorous, playful and deeply intelligent and wide-ranging work that publishers hestitate to publish, often finding it hard to think beyond competition length. So it was a real discovery, and I see that it is a rich source of pleasure and stimulation, intellectual, spiritual (a combination of the two) - and the rest, integrated.'
Praise for Michael Foley’s previous books:
‘Michael Foley’s poems marry irresistible narrative with the sort of irreverent
exuberance that carries all before it.’
Sarah Crown, The Guardian
‘Pungent, witty, perceptive poems … like Larkin, only sharper, funnier.’
Anthony Cronin, The Irish Times
‘Bright wisdoms … pleasing metaphors … laugh-out-loud funny bits … absurdly
Phil Hogan, The Observer
‘Inspired by the wild Dionysian spirit of Nietzsche and Rabelais, Foley’s mind
fizzes, like potassium on water, across a dizzying array of topics and ideas.’
Tom Startup, The Times Literary Supplement