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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Poem of the Week: “Photograph” by Frank Ormsby


On October 13, Frank Ormsby visited Wake Forest University to read from his latest collection, Goat’s Milk, as well as new work from forthcoming volumes. Today, we’ve included a clip of Ormsby reading this week’s poem, “Photograph.” Check back next week for more video from the evening.

During the reading, Ormsby framed his Catholic upbringing in rural Ireland as a central foundation for his writing. In this sense, “Photograph” serves as a perfect introduction to and encapsulation of Ormsby’s characteristically wry tone and use of rural imagery to reflect upon his childhood.


It should be hung in the Folk Museum.

McMahon’s donkey and cart on the Irvinestown Road,
my mother leading the donkey,
her four children posed in the empty cart.

Beside her, the lady from Kent, who has stopped
to be snapped with some Irish peasants.
The donkey, no doubt, is a bonus.

But she sent the photograph and here we are,
in the fifties, on a country road, going where and why
I have long forgotten. How colonial we look.
How self-conscious. Except the donkey.

– Frank OrmsbyGoat’s Milk: New and Selected Poems (2015)

Categories: Frank Ormsby, Poem of the WeekTags: , , ,

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