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McKeefry Banner – January 2017

Ten minutes with… Irish poet Stephen James Smith

stephen james smith-nIF you want to know all about Stephen James Smith, then you’re probably best off listening to, or reading, one of his poems.

A poet and playwright working out of his native Dublin, SJS (as he’s known) has recently been making in-roads into Britain having performed at Glastonbury and at a showcase of emerging Irish talent, held at the Irish Embassy in London.

A winner of the Cúirt International Literary Festival Poetry Grand Slam, he is also co-authour of the theatre piece, Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About. We spent 10 minutes in his company…

What are you up to right now?

Sitting on the sofa half hungover and listening to Irish On Purpose by Shaun Leonard via YouTube.

Who are your heroes?

Pat Ingoldsby, Bill Withers, Jinx Lennon and of course my mum!

What’s been the best decade of your life so far and why?

Probably the last one as, despite having some major downs, the ups have far outweighed them. I’ve seen the world because I’ve written some poems, that never ceases to amaze me. I feel blessed because of that.

What record sends a shiver down your spine?

Dictionary Crimes by Mumblin Deaf Ro.

What is your favourite place in Ireland?

McDonough’s Fish & Chip shop, Quay Street, Galway.

What makes you angry?


What book influenced you most?

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle.

What was the worst moment of your life?

I’d rather not say. So I’ll just go with having to smell my own farts.

Which local star in any field should the world outside Ireland know about?

Enda Reilly, he is simply remarkable: musically and as a person.

If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

I’d get rid of my dyslexia, so reading wasn’t as difficult for me.

Can you recommend an interesting website?

Pawel Kuczynski’s website is pretty cool. He is a brilliant thought-provoking artist.

What is the best lesson life has taught you?

I’m worse than the person I think I am, yet I’m better than the person I think I am.

What is your favourite film and why?

That’s a tough one. It can change on my mood. I do love Amélie though because if the memories it brings back to me and every shot if like a painting if you pause it. Also the soundtrack by Yann Tiersen is exceptional.

What do you believe in?


What trait do others criticise you for?

Being a bit of a gobshite! But probably for being too hard on myself, also I’m very stubborn.

Where do you live and what are the best and worst things about that place?

I’m currently renting in Terenure. The local pub does a savage pint of Guinness, there’s not too much wrong with the area, perhaps it could be a bit snobbish on occasion. Generally though I like it here for now.

On what occasion is it OK to lie?

Hmm… you’re going to try to catch me out now! I’m often too honest which can be to my own detriment. However I might tell a white lie to save someone’s feelings.

What do you consider the greatest work of art?

Jaysis, probably Dubliners by the Joyce fella, specifically The Dead.

What is your ultimate guilty pleasure?

Oh God, probably X Factor… I know, I know! That’s it now I’m going to be shot by my mates!

Who is/was the love of your life?

Dolly Parton isn’t it obvious, she’s got it all, the brain, the brawn.

You can get more on Stephen James Smith at… or @sjsWORDS Also check out the award-winning short video for my poem The Gardener on YouTube!g

Kelly Bar – MPU – January

Irish Post

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