James Simmons

Born in Derry, he was educated at Foyle College and at Campbell College, and later at Leeds University. He taught at schools and universities in Ireland and Africa. He lectured at the University of Ulster, Coleraine from 1968 to 1984, when he took early retirement. He was writer-in-residence at Queens University Belfast until 1990. With his wife, Janice Fitzpatrick Simmons, he was co-founder and co-director of The Poets’ House at Islandmagee. Two television documentaries have been made on his life and work. He published several poetry collections, including Late but in Earnest (1967); In the Wilderness (1969), No Ties (1970); Energy to Burn (1971); The Long Summer Still to Come (1973); West Strand Visions (1974); Judy Garland and the Cold War (1976); Constantly Singing (1980); From the Irish (1985); Poems 1956-1986 (1986); Mainstream (1995) and Elegies (1995). He also published a play, The Cattle Rustling, in 1992. He was an accomplished musician, and released four L.P.s: City and Eastern (1972); Love in the Post (1978); The Rostrevor Sessions (1987) and Women’s Company (1995). He received numerous honours during his career, including the Gregory Award, the Cholmondelly Award, and an Arts Council of Northern Ireland bursary. His poetry collection, Poems 1956-1986, was a Poetry Ireland Choice, won a Poetry Society Recommendation and won the Irish Publishers’ Award in 1986.

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