Sydney Bernard Smith

Born in Glasgow in 1936 and raised in Portstewart, Co. Derry, Sydney Bernard Smith studied at Oxford University, and lived for 25 years west of the Shannon, mainly in Inishbofin. He taught for about 15 years in Ireland, Spain, Germany and the US.

Since 1963 he was publishing, broadcasting or performing poems, short fiction, reviews, articles, satirical pieces & commentary for Irish literary journals and periodicals, and on RTÉ, BBC, and Channel 4. Since 1977, he wrote, directed and acted in his own plays, staging more than 250 (often solo) performances throughout Ireland and in Edinburgh, London and New York.

His plays were often direct political satire, and include Sherca (1976), Don Bosco, Gráinne & the Dole (1977), The Illaunaspie Triangle (1978), Pat, Mick & Joe (1981), Houseparty At Baldriggera (1982), How To Roast A Strasbourg Goose (1985), Swim Away Babies (1985), The Emerald Oil Company (1986), On Course For Brazil (1987), Up For Bloomsday (1988) and The 2nd Grand Confabulation of Drum Céat (1989). In 1989 co-edited Irish number (No. 115) of Ambit. He worked as an actor upstate NY from 1992-4.

He published several collections of poetry: Girl With Violin (1968), Priorities (1979), Sensualities (1982), Scurrilities (1982) and New & Selected Poems (1984). A novel, Flannery, appeared in 1991. In the late 1990s, he produced in Top Pocket Editions poems & satires: The Fiagach (1999), Comrade Dao Jones Reassesses Tiananmen Square (1999) & Peacemonger (2003).

In 2004 he brought out, on video & DVD+ a 90 minute version of his solo show Strasbourg Goose; a series of audio CDs on which he reads from many of the above-listed works; and a 2nd Edition of a CD-rom, Collected Works 1957-2003, nearly 1,500 pages of text with links, including most of the above plus an early ‘experimental’ novel The Book of Shannow (1971), a play Reprisals (1994), and a novel Alexander (2002), reviews, selected correspondence & polemical e-mails. He completed a satirical novel: Say Nothing Till You Hear More. A long poem, The Immodest Proposal, was published in autumn 2005, by Lapwing.


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