A Song of Elsewhere
Many of the new poems in A Song of Elsewhere, written since Smyth’s selected poems were published by Dedalus in 2010, are set in places beyond his native Dublin with which his work is usually associated. While Dublin might still be present as a “hunting ground for life’s necessities”, the interaction with a wider geographical world ( Paris, Lisbon, Moscow and, in particular, the American Midwest feature prominently ) brings new perspective. Many of the poems also pay homage to the song and music soundtrack that Smyth has heard “coming out of the ether” since he first heard “the sorceries of the blues guitarist” in the 1960s.
“Smyth beautifully discerns that the motion of a journey is a discovery of inwardness. In A Song of Elsewhere, the roots of his Dublin identity easily intertwine with the many elsewheres he encounters in these meditative and moving dream songs of a peripatetic, and restlessly inventive, poet.”
Patrick O’Donnell, New Hibernia Review, Minnesota.
"(The) instruction by the figure of the Grandmother ( in his poem Poetry ) to look for poetry both close to things, but also in tangible ‘real’ things is a aesthetic that runs strongly throughout Smyth’s work. The strength of his poetry lies in his commitment to looking, to searching out ‘the elsewhere’, wherever it might be found."
Kim Moore, The High Window.