Michael Smith was born in Dublin in 1942. He founded New Writers’ Press in 1967, which published Thomas McGreevy, Denis Devlin, Brian Coffey, and other neglected modernist poets, as well as numerous younger poets. He was also a founder and editor of the literary magazine The Lace Curtain.
His own collections are With the Woodnymphs (Dublin New Writers’ Press, 1968); Times & Locations (Dublin, The Dolmen Press, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1972); Familiar Anecdotes (New Writers’ Press, 1981); Selected Poems (Cork, The Melmoth Press, 1985); Lost Genealogies (New Writers’ Press, 1993); Meditations on Metaphors (New Writers’ Press, 1998); and The Purpose of the Gift – Selected Poems (Exeter, UK, Shearsman, 2004).
He has translated extensively from the Spanish. including Pablo Neruda: Twenty Love Poems & a Poem of Despair (NWP, 1974); Antonio Machado: Early Poems (NWP, 1976); Miguel Hernández: Unceasing Lightning (Dublin, Dedalus, 1986); Francisco de Quevedo: On The Anvil (Dublin, Dedalus, 1987); Luis de Góngora: Selected Shorter Poems (UK, Anvil Press Poetry, 1995), Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer: Collected Poems (Rimas) (Shearsman Books, 2007); Rosaléa de Castro: Selected Poems (Shearsman, 2007); and three works by César Vallejo: Trilce (Shearsman Books, 2005); Selected Poems (Shearsman, 2006); and, with Valentino Gianuzzi, The Black Heralds & Other Early Poems (Shearsman, 2007).
Maldon (Shearsman, 2004), contains translations from the Anglo-Saxon (The Battle of Maldon), the 18th-century Irish (The Death of Art O’Leary and Sean O’Dwyer of the Glen) and a large selection of cantes flamencos (flamenco songs) translated from an Andalusian dialect of Spanish.
He has edited the Selected Poems of James Clarence Mangan for The Gallery Press, and Irish Poetry, The Thirties Generation (Raven Arts Press, The Belacqua Series, 1983 – orginally published as The Lace Curtain No 4, 1971, edited with the assistance of Brian Coffey).
His awards include The European Academy of Poetry Medal for his services to the translation of poetry.
A member of Aosdána, he died in Dublin in November 2014.