“Ormsby is a poet of enviable gifts. He has a fine ear and a sharp eye and, above all, his poems are memorable.”
– David Cooke, The Manchester Review
Frank Ormsby was born in 1947 in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, and was educated at Queen’s University in Belfast. From 1976–2010, he was an English teacher and eventually became the Head of English at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. He is now retired. His published volumes include Ripe for Company (1971), A Store of Candles (1977), A Northern Spring (1986), The Ghost Train (1995), and Fireflies (2009). His newest volume, Goat’s Milk: New and Selected Poems, was published in 2015 and includes an introduction by Michael Longley.
Frank Ormsby has helped strengthen the legacy of literature from Northern Ireland as an editor of poetry and prose. He has edited several anthologies and other books, including The Collected Poems of John Hewitt (1991), A Rage for Order: Poetry of the Northern Ireland Troubles (1992), and The Hip Flask: Short Poems from Ireland (2001), among others. He served as editor of Poetry Ireland Review from 1997–1998, and he was the editor of The Honest Ulsterman from 1969–1989, which was known for providing a platform for emerging Northern Irish poets and creating an intelligent, safe harbor for writers during the height of the Troubles.
In 1992 he received the Cultural Traditions Award, given in memory of John Hewitt, and in 2002 he was given the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry from the University of St. Thomas at St. Paul, Minnesota. He currently co-edits the poetry journal The Yellow Nib with Leontia Flynn.
Author photo by Malachi O’Doherty
Praise for Frank Ormsby
“Frank Ormsby belongs to that extraordinary generation of Northern Irish poets which includes Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian, Paul Muldoon and Tom Paulin. He is a poet of the truest measure.”
– Michael Longley
“[Ormsby’s] poems are concise, memorable and intelligent. . . . This is a poetry of simplicity and quiet power, one of hauntings, rememberings and reimaginings.”
– Seán Hewitt, Breac