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Author Frank Ormsby named Ireland's Professor of Poetry

Posted 09 September, 2019

Author and poet Frank Ormsby, credit: Malachi O'Doherty

Author and poet Frank Ormsby has been revealed as the eighth Professor of Poetry for Ireland.

Irish president Michael D Higgins made the announcement at a reception at Queen's University Belfast, describing Mr Ormsby as “one of a golden generation of poets”.

“His poetry frequently engages in themes of origin, exile and elegy, often in a domestic setting,” he added.

A central figure in Ulster poetry since the 1960s, Mr Ormsby takes over from the current holder of Ireland’s Professor of Poetry, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, in October.

Established in 1998 by the Arts Councils in conjunction with University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, and Queen's University Belfast, the position celebrates the exceptional contribution of Irish poets to the world of literature.

Every three years a poet of honour and distinction is chosen to represent Ireland’s Professor of Poetry, and during their tenure they spend a year in residence at one of the partner universities for approximately eight weeks.

While there, the poet gives informal workshops, spends time working with students, and makes one formal presentation a year, usually in the form of a lecture.

On his appointment, Mr Ormsby said the Professorship of Irish Poetry had “done more than any other initiative to raise the profile of poetry in Ireland in the last 20 years, both as a recognition for established poets and a golden opportunity for younger emerging poets.”

Previous holders of the Ireland Professor of Poetry include:

  • Professor Eilean Ní Chuilleanáin, 2016 to 2019.
  • Professor Paula Meehan, 2013 to 2016.
  • Professor Harry Clifton, 2010 to 2013.
  • Professor Michael Longley, 2007 to 2010.
  • Professor Paul Durcan, 2004 to 2007.
  • Professor Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, 2001 to 2004.
  • Professor John Montague, 1998 to 2001.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations