Gerard Smyth has achieved a hard-won grace and fluency over many years and now writes with controlled passion and lyrical intensity, the result of a dedication to the truth of poetry that has involved a steady pilgrimage. If the work began with a dismal view of human living, imaged through inner city Dublin, it is the spare language and affectionate, though unsparing, knowledge of contemporary life, combined with unobstrusive faith in human possibility, that give the later poems a relevance, a music and a depth unique to the poetry of our time. The Mirror Tent offers poems that are mature and accomplished, their surface beauty offering, to a more concentrated reading, a depth and unselfconscious wisdom for which we must truly grateful.
- John F. Deane
Gerard Smyth is inescapably a poet of the inward city. His city is one in which every day comes as news: a city of endless stories, of streets and neighbourhoods rich with associations, and a city of early memories. He gives us a city of found objects and found connections…
– O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award citation
The Yellow River
Gerard Smyth & Sean McSweeney
January 28 – March 23 2017, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan
The Yellow River is a tributary of the Blackwater (Kells), which joins the Boyne at Navan, County Meath that unites the personal histories of poet Gerard Smyth and artist Sean McSweeney. Gerard Smyth spent many summers in Meath staying with his grandmother and an aunt, whilst originally Sean McSweeney’s family lived in Clongill until the untimely death of his father.
Over the last two years Gerard Smyth has been revisiting Meath in further inquiry with Solstice Arts Centre director Belinda Quirke, in the development of a new suite of poems, recollecting and revisiting significant sites of occurrence in the poet’s and county’s history. Sean McSweeney has created new work from recent trips to his original home place and the county. McSweeney here responds lyrically to particular sites of Smyth’s poetry, whilst also depicting in watercolour, ink, tempera and drawing, the particular hues of the royal county.