In our featured spot this time, we are privileged to present (and not before time), renowned poet Damian Smyth, whose five collections focus on his home town of Downpatrick. His first collection, Downpatrick Races (Lagan Press), appeared in 2000. A stage play, Soldiers of the Queen, following the fortunes of family members from the Boer War to the Troubles in Northern Ireland, played the Belfast Festival at Queen’s in 2002 and was published the following year.
His second collection, The Down Recorder – an epic poem drawing on news stories in the local newspaper over 150 years – appeared in 2004. Both Lamentations, a sequence of 70 brief elegies, and Market Street, appeared in 2010.
He has edited and introduced Joseph Tomelty: Collected Plays (2011), Martin Lynch: Three Plays (1996) and John Hewitt: Two Plays (2000), all reflecting a commitment to the regional ethos in Ulster. A poetry pamphlet, Apparitions: A Hurricane appeared from Templar in 2013 and his fifth full collection, Mesopotamia, was published by the same publisher in May 2014. His work is also widely anthologised.
The following PoSA is on Sunday 26th of April 2015.