A Song of Elsewhere

Gerard Smyth’s tenth collection, The Sundays of Eternity, will be published by Dedalus Press in February, 2020. The themes of this collection include family and marriage, responses and re-evaluations prompted by recent historical anniversaries – the First World War, the 1916 rebellion, the Limerick Soviet of 1919 – as well as a suite of elegies dealing with the loss of artist and writer friends, and poems of homage to other writers and artists, including the late Leonard Cohen.

Smyth’s concern with place continues with poems that engage with Dublin, a city that has always had a pervasive presence in his work and which in this book is represented by Clerys Clock, Joyce’s House of the Dead, the bells of Christ Church and St Patrick’s cathedrals, Chesterfield Avenue in the Phoenix Park and the more intimate domestic settings of the poet’s childhood homes in the city’s Liberties area. Other places too appear in the poems of The Sundays of Eternity : Meath, Portugal, Syria, Israel and the moonscape that was beamed into homes on the night of July 20th, 1969.

"Gerard Smyth’s new collection is his masterwork…rural sensuality embedded inside a fiercely urban sense of the self has given a unique patina to Smyth’s work since the late Sixties. In The Sundays of Eternity a great deal of what was always marvellous about Smyth’s sensibility comes into play, that sense of community and locale, the sounds of streets, avenues, and schools, the pain of a lost Dublin past ultimately unattainable."

– Thomas McCarthy, Poetry Ireland Review

"Smyth has the wonderful ability of standing back from his past and expressing it with discipline and musicality….There is much to savour in this wonderfully varied collection."

– Malcolm Carson in The High Window review of The Sundays of Eternity.


"In Smyth’s poetry, history and inheritance, both familial and cultural, are key themes. His is a contemporary voice that celebrates Irish experience in the second half of the twentieth-century and beyond. Many readers will recognize their own life in his poetry, and there is much to treasure in his elegiac body of work which manages to be both uniquely personal while also attuned to the universal concerns of the human condition."

– Adrienne Levy. Reading Ireland, the little magazine

"Smyth radiates calm and quietness, there is an almost reticent note in these poems, as though he were hesitating about revealing too much too quickly. Yet he can fold profound emotion into a poetic mode that almost has the ease of careful conversation between intimate friends."

 – Paddy Kehoe, RTE culture section review of The Sundays of Eternity.


"It is a measure of the skilfully subtle sleight of hand at play in Gerard Smyth’s tenth collection that a letter more often associated these days with the ending of a text message, should feature, in triplicate, as its opening salvo. Here, both poem title and conclusion: “its last line ending xxx,” serve to turn memory and the reader around until what is lost becomes found again."

 – Enda Coyle-Greene, Dublin Review of Books.


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