Stephen James Smith is a Dublin poet and playwright central to the rise of the vibrant spoken word scene in Ireland today. To date, his poetry videos have amassed over 1 million views online. Stephen is a co-founder of LINGO Festival (inaugural festival in 2014), Ireland’s only spoken word festival, and poetry curator of the annual First Fortnight Festival. He co-produced Dublin: A Year in Words poetry video series for Dublin UNESCO City of Literature.
In 2017 Smith was commissioned by St. Patrick’s Festival to write a new poem as a “celebratory narrative” of Ireland. The resultant piece ‘My Ireland’ is accompanied by a short film by Director Myles O’Reilly, arranged and mixed by Conor O’Brien (Villagers & Ivor Novello Award Winner ), with music by Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Loah, Saint Sister, Eithne Ní Chatháin (aka Inni-K) and Ye Vagabonds. It has been viewed over 300,000 times online and was screened at London Film Festival in Trafalgar Square on March 17th. The poem was in many ways a follow on from Smith’s previous poetry video Dublin You Are, which itself has clocked up in excess of 250k views.
Stephen has performed at high profile events and festivals such as the Electric Picnic, Other Voices, the National Concert Hall, the Abbey Theatre (Noble Call) and Vicar Street (alongside luminaries such Oscar winner Glen Hansard, Shane McGowan, Roddy Doyle and Joseph O’Connor, Shane Koyzan); and further afield at the London Palladium, the Oscar Wilde Awards in LA, Glastonbury, George Town Literary Festival (ML) and other events in New York, Chicago, Iowa, Montreal, Ottawa, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Utrecht, Ljubljana and Warsaw. In 2012 he was invited to perform for the Irish Olympic team in London.
Arise and Go!, Smith’s debut album with musician Enda Reilly, was selected by Hot Press as one of the best albums of 2011 and he also is a member of Dublin music collective The Lazy Band, who released their debut album In My Garden last year. His ABSOLUTE Dublin Fringe play Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About (2011), co-written with Colm Keegan and Kalle Ryan, was shortlisted for the Bewley’s Little Gem Award. And in 2010 he won the Cúirt International Literary Festival Poetry Grand Slam.
Stephen’s poetry videos have been screened at film festivals at home and around the world, and he has featured in programmes and documentaries for television such as RTÉ’s IFTA Award Winning documentary WB Yeats: No Country for Old Men; The Works (RTÉ); News Today (RTÉ); The Six O’Clock Show (TV3); Nationwide (RTÉ) and Like A Virgin (RTÉ). He is currently working on two video’s commissioned by Listowel Writer’s Week, with Myles O’Reilly, Donal Dineen and Conor O’Brien.
Stephen has been conducting poetry workshops in secondary schools around Ireland for a number of years and was recently announced as an Artist in Residence with Dunamaise Arts Centre and Laois Arts Office, where he will develop the first ever Laois Spoken Word Project for young people in the county. His poetry is included on the syllabus at Western Connecticut State University and his work has been translated into Irish, Spanish, Slovenian, Polish, Dutch and Italian.
Stephen James Smith’s debut collection, Fear Not, is published by Arlen House with a launch due in Spring 2018.