By Gerard Smyth

The Sundays of Eternity

The 10th collection of poems by Dublin-based poet Gerard Smyth.


All Poetry, Poetry from Ireland


The Sundays of Eternity is Irish poet Gerard Smyth’s tenth collection of poems.

Memory and return, swansongs of a time ‘about to pass into history books’, and the re-evaluation of what one poem calls The Sepia Years, The Sundays of Eternity plays a kind of ‘catch and throw’ with the past.

In poems that respond to echoes, memories and images of a recent but fading world, the poet finds the concerns and imperatives of that time still very much relevant to our own.

In the world of literature and the arts, he recognises the necessity of loss and letting go, recalling the ‘exuberant’ blaze that ‘consumed / the whole songbook of my youth’, while elsewhere he admires a famous actor’s ‘many guises of metamorphosis’.

Fundamental to Smyth’s enterprise in The Sundays of Eternity is his faith and trust in language, in poetry but also in prayer, and in the silence that suggests ‘the shades of difference / between one word and the next’.

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 …
– Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award citation

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About The Author


GERARD SMYTH was born in Dublin in 1951. His first poems were published in 1969 in New Irish Writing and The Honest Ulsterman. Gerard Smyth’s ten collections of poetry are World Without End (New Writers’ Press, 1977), Loss and Gain (Raven Arts Press, 1981), Painting the Pink Roses Black (Dedalus Press, 1986), Daytime Sleeper (Dedalus Press, 2002), A New Tenancy (Dedalus Press, 2004), The Mirror Tent (Dedalus Press, 2007), The Fullness of Time: New and Selected Poems (Dedalus Press, 2010), A Song of Elsewhere (Dedalus Press, 2015), The Yellow River (a collaboration with artist Seán McSweeney, Solstice Arts Centre, 2017) and The Sundays of Eternity (Dedalus Press, 2020). Gerard’s work has appeared in several anthologies, including Windharp: Poems of Ireland since 1916, edited by Niall McMonagle; All Through the Night: Night Poems and Lullabies, edited by Marie Heaney and Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan, edited by Thom Tammaro and Alan Davis. His work has also appeared in translation, including Italian, Romanian, German, French, Spanish, Ukrainian, Hungarian and Polish. In 2012 Gerard Smyth was recipient of the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award from the University of St Thomas in Minnesota. Gerard was co-editor, with Pat Boran, of If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song (Dedalus Press, 2014) which was Dublin’s One City One Book in 2014. Smyth’s reviews and essays have appeared in various publications, including The Irish Times, The Dublin Review of Books, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Daily, Modern Poetry in Translation and The Warwick Review. He is a member of Aosdána, the Irish affiliation of creative artists. Gerard Smyth retired as a Managing Editor of The Irish Times in 2011 but continues to act as the newspaper’s Poetry Editor. Further information at PERSONAL STATEMENT "At this stage of my writing life memory and personal places have a central role in my work. Since my first poems in the 1960s, the irresistible appeal of poetry has been its multiple range of functions – as a form of succinct storytelling, as melody and soundscape, as a medium to capture the spirit of place, memorialise and elegise, lament, pay homage, bear witness and celebrate. What the lyric can achieve surpasses all other forms. Jane Hirshfield nailed it when she said that poetry is “as grand a technology as I know for the netting and distillation of vastness, condensing huge swaths of existence into something portable, memorable”.