Gerard Smyth’s first published poems appeared in the New Irish Writing page of The Irish Press, edited by David Marcus, in 1969 and also in The Honest Ulsterman. In the same year his small collection, The Flags Are Quiet, was issued by New Writers’ Press in a limited, hand-printed edition. New Writers’ Press subsequently published Twenty Poems, also in a limited edition, in 1970.
His publishing career continued with a third small collection in 1971, Orchestra of Silence, one of a series of chapbooks brought out by Peter Fallon’s Tara Telephone – which went on to become Gallery Press.
His first full collection, was World Without End (New Writers Press, 1977), with two subsequent collection, Loss and Gain (Raven Arts Press, 1981) and Painting the Pink Roses Black (Dedalus Press, 1986 ), before a long period during which he stopped writing poetry.
After twelve years, he began writing again in 1999 and published Daytime Sleeper ( Dedalus Press, Dublin, 2002), a collection of new work and rewritten versions of a number of poems that had appeared in earlier volumes. Daytime Sleeper was translated into Romanian and published in Bucharest in 2003.
A New Tenancy (also published by Dedalus) followed in 2004 and The Mirror Tent ( Dedalus, 2007). The Fullness of Time: New and Selected Poems was published by Dedalus Press in 2010. A hand-printed limited edition, We Like it Here Beside the River, a sequence of poems about Dublin, has just been published by The Salvage Press.
In his latest collection, A Song of Elsewhere, many poems 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.
He has contributed widely to literary magazines in Ireland, Britain and North America and has been translated into Spanish, Polish, Hungarian and Romanian. He has read his work on The Enchanted Way, Sunday Miscellany and The Arts Show on RTE Radio.