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ORMSBY, FRANK, 1947-
Frank Ormsby papers, circa 1967-2012

Emory University

Robert W. Woodruff Library

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322

404-727-6887

rose.library@emory.edu

Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8zqq8

Digital Material Available in this Collection

Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Ormsby, Frank, 1947-
Title: Frank Ormsby papers, circa 1967-2012
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 805
Extent: 25.75 linear ft. (46 boxes) and 2 oversized papers boxes (OP)
Abstract:Personal and literary papers of Irish poet Frank Ormsby.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Series 7: Some diaries are closed to researchers until Frank Ormsby's death.

Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this collection.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Special restrictions apply: Researchers may not quote from the diaries in series 7 without written permission from Ormsby.

Source

Purchase, 1997, with subsequent additions.

Citation

[after identification of item(s)], Frank Ormsby papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Processing

Processed by Brendan Corcoran, July 2003.


Collection Description

Biographical Note

A central figure in Ulster's literary culture since the late 1960's, Frank Ormsby has led a lively and multifarious writing life as a poet, book and magazine editor, and teacher based in Belfast. Born in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland in 1947, Ormsby studied English at Queen's University Belfast, where he received an MA. In 1971, he began teaching at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, and he has been Head of English there for many years.

As a poet, Ormsby established himself in the early seventies with two chapbooks, Ripe for Company (1971) and Business as Usual (1973). During the 1971-1972 academic year, Ormsby also participated in the Belfast Group meetings organized by Seamus Heaney and Michael Allen. He won the Eric Gregory Award in 1974, and his 1977 volume of poems, A Store of Candles, was a Poetry Book Society Choice. Ormsby's other collections of poems, A Northern Spring (1986) and The Ghost Train (1995) have been published with the Gallery Press. In 1992, Ormsby won a Cultural Traditions Award given in memory of John Hewitt, and in 2002 he was honored with the Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry from the University of St Thomas at St Paul, Minnesota.

Ormsby began his editorial career in 1969, when he and Michael Foley succeeded James Simmons as co-editors of The Honest Ulsterman. From 1972 to 1984, Ormsby was the sole editor of this small but important literary magazine that offered both younger and established Northern Irish writers invaluable access to a wider public. After editing The Honest Ulsterman with Robert Johnstone from 1984 until 1989, Ormsby left to dedicate himself both to his own poetry and various other editorial projects.

Ormsby's other editorial projects including several very important anthologies produced since the late 1970's. Poets From Northern Ireland was first published in 1979 and then revised in 1990. Similarly, The Long Embrace: Twentieth Century Irish Love Poems was published in 1987 and also reprinted in 1990. In 1987, Ormsby produced Northern Windows: An Anthology of Ulster Autobiography. Another anthology of mostly prose, Thine in Storm and Calm: An Amanda McKittrick Ros Reader, was released in 1988. Published in 1991, The Collected Poems of John Hewitt is a definitive and extensively annotated collection of this major Belfast poet's work. Ormsby's A Rage for Order: Poetry of the Northern Ireland Troubles (1992) is a much heralded and widely used anthology of "Troubles poetry." His most recent anthology is The Hip Flask: Short Poems from Ireland (2001). In addition to these individual volumes, he edited the Poetry Ireland Review (Numbers 53-56).

A central figure in Ulster's literary culture since the late 1960's, Frank Ormsby has led a lively and multifarious writing life as a poet, book and magazine editor, and teacher based in Belfast. Born in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland in 1947, Ormsby studied English at Queen's University Belfast, where he received an MA. In 1971, he began teaching at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, and he has been Head of English there for many years.

As a poet, Ormsby established himself in the early seventies with two chapbooks, Ripe for Company (1971) and Business as Usual (1973). During the 1971-1972 academic year, Ormsby also participated in the Belfast Group meetings organized by Seamus Heaney and Michael Allen. He won the Eric Gregory Award in 1974, and his 1977 volume of poems, A Store of Candles, was a Poetry Book Society Choice. Ormsby's other collections of poems, A Northern Spring (1986) and The Ghost Train (1995) have been published with the Gallery Press. In 1992, Ormsby won a Cultural Traditions Award given in memory of John Hewitt, and in 2002 he was honored with the Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry from the University of St Thomas at St Paul, Minnesota.

Ormsby began his editorial career in 1969, when he and Michael Foley succeeded James Simmons as co-editors of The Honest Ulsterman. From 1972 to 1984, Ormsby was the sole editor of this small but important literary magazine that offered both younger and established Northern Irish writers invaluable access to a wider public. After editing The Honest Ulsterman with Robert Johnstone from 1984 until 1989, Ormsby left to dedicate himself both to his own poetry and various other editorial projects.

Ormsby's other editorial projects including several very important anthologies produced since the late 1970's. Poets From Northern Ireland was first published in 1979 and then revised in 1990. Similarly, The Long Embrace: Twentieth Century Irish Love Poems was published in 1987 and also reprinted in 1990. In 1987, Ormsby produced Northern Windows: An Anthology of Ulster Autobiography. Another anthology of mostly prose, Thine in Storm and Calm: An Amanda McKittrick Ros Reader, was released in 1988. Published in 1991, The Collected Poems of John Hewitt is a definitive and extensively annotated collection of this major Belfast poet's work. Ormsby's A Rage for Order: Poetry of the Northern Ireland Troubles (1992) is a much heralded and widely used anthology of "Troubles poetry." His most recent anthology is The Hip Flask: Short Poems from Ireland (2001). In addition to these individual volumes, he edited the Poetry Ireland Review (Numbers 53-56).

Scope and Content Note

The Frank Ormsby papers consist of the poet-editor's personal and literary papers from 1968 to 2012. These papers catalog Ormsby's literary career as a poet, an anthologist, and a long-term editor of The Honest Ulsterman. The collection focuses on two interconnected areas of Ormsby's literary life. On one hand, the papers highlight Ormsby's output as a poet, a writer about poetry, and an editor-anthologist. On the other hand, this collection is notable for its materials relating to The Honest Ulsterman and Ormsby's role as editor of this magazine, which played an important role in the late twentieth century literary culture of Northern Ireland.

Ormsby's poetry has been consistently well-received and widely acknowledged since the early 1970's. An extensive series of manuscript and typescript drafts of published and unpublished poems charts the development of the poet across time. Like many other poets in Ireland and Great Britain, Ormsby has also enjoyed a parallel career as a literary journalist. He has written many reviews and essays about other writers and collections of poetry.

Apart from his writing poetry and critical prose and his magazine editing, Ormsby, as anthologist and literary editor, has produced seven anthologies or other edited volumes. Materials relating to the publication of these volumes are arranged in a distinct subseries of writing by Ormsby. Such materials include: bibliographical and biographical research materials, permissions, contents lists and indexes, drafts of introductions, and copies of primary documents. Correspondence with contributors, editors, or publishers is kept separately in the subseries for personal literary correspondence. Similarly, reviews and other printed matter relating to these texts are found in the subseries for printed material about Ormsby.

His editorial work on these volumes as well as with The Honest Ulsterman has ensured a wide and varied correspondence with many important writers in Ireland and Great Britain. Though Ormsby's personal literary correspondence and his editorial correspondence relating to The Honest Ulsterman are located in two distinct series, individual letters frequently mention both the poet's own work and The Honest Ulsterman. Information related to the poet and to the magazine may be found throughout the collection. In this collection's several correspondence subseries, writers of interest include Ciaran Carson, Peter Fallon, Seamus Heaney, John Hewitt, Kathleen Jamie, Edna and Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, Medbh McGuckian, Paul Muldoon, Tom Paulin, Carol Rumens, and James Simmons, among many others.

Because of the magazine's importance, both for Ormsby and Northern Irish literary culture, The Honest Ulsterman materials constitute a separate and sizeable series, which includes correspondence, author files, manuscript submissions, publications, and printed material regarding The Honest Ulsterman. Manuscript and typescript drafts of poetry and prose sent to Ormsby are divided according to those submitted for magazine publication and those shared with the poet on a more personal basis. Because friends sent material both for personal reasons and for publication, the series of writings by others is relatively small compared to The Honest Ulsterman author files and magazine submissions subseries. Anything sent with an eye towards publication has been kept in The Honest Ulsterman series. Similarly, printed material regarding the magazine is arranged separately from other printed material relating to Ormsby and his work as poet and anthologist.

Other important materials include worksheets by Norman Dugdale, Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Paul Muldoon, Bernard MacLaverty, and James Simmons from meetings of the Belfast Group in 1971-1972. Photographs of many of the personages whose work is represented in this collection are arranged in a separate series.

Unprocessed additions include writings by Ormsby, writings by others including Michael Longley and James Simmons, correspondence, and printed material.

Arrangement Note

Organized into eight series: (1) Correspondence, (2) The Honest Ulsterman literary materials, (3) Writings by Ormsby, (4) Writing by others, (5) Printed material by and about Ormsby, (6) Photographs, (7) Personal materials, and (8) Unprocessed additions.


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