Cherry Smyth

Cherry Smyth is an Irish poet, born in Ballymoney, County Antrim and raised in Portstewart. She has written two collections of poetry, a poetry pamphlet as well as a book, essays and reviews on contemporary visual arts. She has also published short fiction.

Her debut poetry collection, When the Lights Go Up, was published by Lagan Press, 2001. Her anthology of women prisoners' writing, A Strong Voice in a Small Space (Cherry Picking Press, 2002), won the Raymond Williams Community Publishing Award in 2003.

The Future of Something Delicate was published by Smith/Doorstop in 2005. A second collection called One Wanted Thing (Lagan Press) appeared in 2006.

Her poems have been published in various magazines including The North, The ShOp, Staple, Magma and Poetry Ireland Review. She was a prize-winner in the Tonbridge Poetry Competition, 2006 and the London Writers' Competition, 2007.

Cherry is the poetry editor of Brand literary magazine And has been teaching writing poetry in the Creative Writing Department of the University of Greenwich since 2004.



'Cherry Smyth’s The Future of Something Delicate is grounded in an uncomfortably sensual apprehension of things… Her poems at their best seem to drift, like mist, before suddenly clearing to reveal something entirely, but usually subtly, unexpected….

Just as her words can suddenly transform feelings, so other poems explore the many ways speech or silences can shape us. In “Lone Wolf Language”, a woman, living in “the land where she doesn’t speak the tongue”, finds herself becoming serenely feral, her own tongue “lying less used,/except to eat, sing and lick her lips’, finally coming to hold words ‘with her teeth’. In “Chore” we find a tender reversal of a parental relationship, the ailing father’s power partly restored in a single exclamation:

“I filled the big hospital bath,
lowered him in, his penis a small water flower,
his word as he lay clean for the first time in days
half floating – Magnificent! he said,
the word immense, healthy as the sea…”

As this suggests, psychoanalysis underlies much of Smyth’s approach, coming to the fore in the inwardly focused fairy-tale imagery of ‘Object Relations’, the small explosion of trees, sky and birds in the two stanzas of ‘Lacan’s Idea of Love’ and the vividly patterned Indian imagery of ‘The Trance of Small Gold Flies’, in which a speaker appears to dissolve into the scents and colours of a garden…..This pamphlet suggests an accomplished body of work in the making.’ — Poetry London

Cherry reading for the Open Ealing Arts Project



All winter I watched your single cyclamen
unbend its crook
to upflutter in the only light,
letting the light come in
where it could not go itself
to make such pink,
a butterfly asana.
Only now can I begin to feel
how slow your seasons are,
how long buds shepherded
in that crinkled shade,
how much it took to float
your field of veined paths,
to trust some earth. 

Titles by this author

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