Episode 25

Damian Smyth

This month’s session comes from the beautiful surroundings of The River Mill Writers’ Retreat in County Down, Northern Ireland.

In this episode, I talk with poet and playwright Damian Smyth about the poet’s search for the uncanny, how the local becomes the universal and the erotic charge of the bicycle, among other things. Damian also reads from his latest poetry collection English Street.

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 Poetry in 2013; Mesopotamia appeared from the same publisher in May 2014. His sixth collection, English Street, appeared in June 2018.

He is Head of Literature & Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.



  • English Street (Templar Poetry, 2018)
  • Mesopotamia (Templar Poetry, 2014)
  • Apparitions (Templar Poetry, 2012)
  • Lamentations (Belfast, 2010)
  • The Down Recorder (Belfast, 2004)
  • Downpatrick Races (Lagan Press, 2000)


  • Soldiers of the Queen (2002)

You can find out more about Damian at  and follow him on Twitter @

This episode was recorded at The River Mill Writers’ Retreat, Downpatrick, County Sown, Northern Ireland. Special thanks to Paul Maddern.

This episode is hosted by Nessa O’Mahony

Recording Copyright ©2018. The Attic Sessions. All rights reserved.

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