Frank Ormsby Interviews

Frank Ormsby Interviews

Frank Ormsby has been much in the news recently since his poetry was celebrated at the BBC Proms in the Park Northern Ireland on 9 September 2017.  Details of press and TV coverage of the event are here.  His latest collection of poems, The Darkness of Snow, was launched at the Ulster Museum Belfast on 28 September 2017.


The Poetry Programme, RTÉ Radio 1, Saturday 30 September 2017, 7.30pm

Northern Irish poet Frank Ormsby was interviewed on The Poetry Programme (presented by Olivia O’Leary) 30 September.  Frank read two poems about his parents: ‘Bog Cotton’ from Goat’s Milk: New & Selected Poems and ‘The Cash Railway’ from The Darkness of Snow .  He also read and spoke about his poems ‘Crows Again’, ‘The Willow Forest’ and ‘Agitans’ from his new collection.  The 19-minute interview ended with Frank being asked to read a  short funny poem from Goat’s Milk, ‘Home Is the Hero’.

‘Frank Ormsby joins Olivia O’Leary to talk about his new collection… Born in 1947 in Co. Fermanagh, Frank Ormsby lives in Belfast and was Head of English at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution until his retirement in 2010. He has been a central fig-ure in the poetry of Northern Ireland for the past forty years, editing The Honest Ul-sterman from 1969 to 1989. He joins presenter Olivia O’Leary to talk about his views on poetry – he prefers poems to be accessible – and to read from his new collection, The Darkness of Snow (Bloodaxe). Poems in the collection range from vignettes of his childhood, to musings on impressionist paintings, to attempts to deal with the onset of Parkinson’s Disease with black humour.’

Click here to listen (1st item).


The Irish News, Thursday 5 October 2017

An interview with Frank Ormsby ran in The Irish News of 5 October, illustrated with a large colour photograph of Frank at his home in Belfast, and with a small photo of the cover of his new collection, which is discussed in detail.  The book was given a feature review as Book of the Week in The Irish News of 28 September (see here).

‘He says Parkinson's has neither slowed his writing nor sapped his creativity over the last few years. In fact, the 70-year-old says he has been experiencing the most prolific period of his career, after he was diagnosed with the condition over seven years ago.’ Joanne Sweeney, on Frank Ormsby

Click here to read the interview.


The Irish Times, online Wednesday 27 September 2017

An interview with Frank Ormsby went online at The Irish Times on 27 September, illustrated with large author and cover pictures. The piece was linked to his collection The Darkness of Snow.  The piece also mentioned that Frank Ormsby’s poetry was celebrated at the BBC Proms in the Park Northern Ireland earlier this month.

‘“Fervour” seems an apt description for what Ormsby has been undertaking in his lifelong commitment to poetry. He has written – quietly, diligently and effectively – for more than 40 years now. His first full collection, A Store of Candles, was published in 1977 and The Darkness of Snow marks the latest chapter in that “mad desire” to pursue perfect poems.’ - Pól Ó Muirí, The Irish Times

‘One of the golden generation of Belfast poets (Heaney, Longley and Carson) who liked their poetry with a pint, he marks his 70th year with a new collection’
Read the interview here.

The Arts Show, BBC Radio Ulster, Tuesday 5 September 2017, 6.30pm, first broadcast Thursday 23 April 2015, 6.30pm

The Arts Show repeated their thirty-minute special with Frank Ormsby on 5 September ahead of the BBC Proms Northern Ireland in September 2017, at which his work was celebrated.  This touching and very funny interview was recorded in April 2015 at the time of publication of his retrospective Goat’s Milk: New & Selected Poems.  Frank read ‘Apples, Normandy, 1944’ and ‘My Criminal Record’ from Goat’s Milk

He also read and spoke about his poems about Parkinson’s Disease, which will be published in The Darkness of Snow on 28 September 2017.  He read his poem ‘Once a Day’ from that sequence, and mentioned ‘The Insulin Pen’ and ‘Side Effects (3)’.

Click here for programme details. No longer available to listen to in full.

Poet Frank Ormsby on dealing with Parkinson's through humour.  Click here to listen to this short clip (which remains available to listen to). 

Marie-Louise Muir also interviewed Frank Ormsby for a Radio 4 profile, The Art of Living: Frank Ormsby's Parkinson's, which aired on 26 November 2017.  Click here to listen.


The Arts Show, BBC Two: Northern Ireland, Monday 3 April 2017

The Arts Show filmed Frank Ormsby reading his poem ‘The Waterworks Park’ in the Belfast wildlife park that the poem is about. This went out in April 2017  The poem is included in his forthcoming collection The Darkness of Snow.

Click here to watch. 


[05 October 2017]

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