Frank Ormsby Readings

Frank Ormsby Readings

‘Frank Ormsby’s latest collection, The Rain Barrel, is one of his finest and follows on from a hugely creative few years – a volume of new and selected poems, Goat’s Milk (2015) and the complexly challenging The Darkness of Snow (2017) – both from Bloodaxe.’ – Gerald Dawe, The Lonely Crowd (Books of the Year 2019)

‘One of the happiest events of the year was the elevation of Fermanagh poet Frank Ormsby to the post of Ireland Professor of Poetry.  His latest book, The Rain Barrel, has been hailed as containing some of his best work.’ Damian Smyth, Belfast Telegraph (Best Books by Northern Irish Writers 2019)

'The real surprise with Ormsby is that it's full of subtle provocation. He does really unflinching work.. there are several poems about the disappeared, and he cannot leave them to be forgotten - I really admire him for that.' - Colm Keegan, speaking on RTE Radio 1's Arena (Irish Poetry books of 2019) on The Rain Barrel

Northern Irish poet Frank Ormsby, who was named the eighth Ireland Professor of Poetry on 6 September 2019, published his seventh collection, The Rain Barrel, on 24 October 2019.  The book had an early launch on 2 October at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, with two more October launches in Northern Ireland around publication day, both introduced by musician Anthony Toner.

The Rain Barrel reflects not only the beauty of the Irish landscape and the sensuous and aesthetic impact of the small farms among which he grew up, but also the continuing violence of the 'Troubles'. Close to the surface of mountain and bogland lie the hidden graves of the 'Disappeared'.

Frank Ormsby's retrospective Goat's Milk: New & Selected Poems, was published by Bloodaxe in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Literary Prize. It was followed by The Darkness of Snow in 2017, a  Poetry Book Recommendation in the UK and shortlisted for the National Book Circle Critics’ Prize in the US, (Wake Forest University Press). 

The Darkness of Snow includes a sequence of poems about living with Parkinson's. Frank was interviewed by Marie-Louise Muir about this sequence for the BBC Radio 4 feature The Art of Living: Frank Ormsby: listen here.



Ireland Cultural Centre, London, 2 May 2021, 2pm - then online

Frank Ormsby in conversation with Anne Morrison

A fifty-minute conversation between Anne Morrison and Frank Ormsby, Ireland Professor of Poetry.  As part of this wide-ranging discussion, Frank read a few poems from his most recent books The Rain Barrel, The Darkness of Snow and Goat's Milk: New & Selected Poems.




Poetry of The 'Troubles' Revisited

Lecture by Frank Ormsby, holder of the Ireland Chair of Poetry with welcome by Prof Iggy McGovern and introduction by Prof Nicholas Grene. The second of his lectures as Ireland Professor of Poetry.  Recorded at Trinity College Dublin. Released online 4 March 2022.


A feature review of Frank Ormsby's The Rain Barrel  is in The Irish Times here.

Frank Ormsby recorded his poem 'The Butterfly House' from The Rain Barrel for The New Yorker.  You can listen to Frank read the poem here.

In 2018 Frank Ormsby collaborated with singer/songwriter Anthony Toner on an album The Kiss of Light.  The CD was launched by Frank, Anthony and the other two musicians involved at an event at Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris on 29 March 2018.  Frank Ormsby, Anthony Toner and cellist Neil Martin gave a number of other events based around the CD. The album features recordings of Frank  reading 11 of his own poems, with each reading followed by a short instrumental composed by Anthony Toner in response to the poems, played by Anthony on accoustic guitar, Linley Hamilton on trumpet and Neil Martin on 'cello.  The poems are taken from Frank Ormsby's Goat's Milk: New & Selected Poems and The Darkness of Snow. Full details a clips from the CD are here.

Frank Ormsby was the Guest of Honour at the BBC Proms in the Park at Castle Coole, Nothern Ireland on 9 September 2017.  His work was celebrated and two poems from Goat's Milk: New & Selected Poems were read by actor Adrian Dunbar accompanied by specially composed music by Graeme Stewart performed by the Ulster Orchestra and harpist Richard Allen.

[06 September 2019]

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