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, Gerard Smyth’s tenth collection 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 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’.