He was educated at St Michael's College, Enniskillen, and Queen's University Belfast. He was editor of The Honest Ulsterman from 1969-89, and has also edited the Poetry Ireland Review. From 1976 until his retirement in 2010 he was Head of English at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution.
In 1992 he received the Cultural Traditions Award, given in memory of John Hewitt, and in 2002 the Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota.
- Ormsby, Frank (1971). Ripe for company. Belfast: Ulsterman Publications.
- A Store of Candles, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977.
- A Northern Spring, London: Secker & Warburg, 1986.
- The Ghost Train, Oldcastle, Co. Meath: The Gallery Press, 1995.
- Fireflies, Manchester: Carcanet/Oxford Poets, 2009.
- Ormsby, Frank, ed. (1979). Poets from the north of Ireland. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.
- Northern Windows: An Anthology of Ulster Autobiography, Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 1987.
- The Long Embrace: Twentieth Century Irish Love Poems, London: Faber & Faber, 1987.
- Thine in Storm and Calm: An Amanda McKittrick Ros Reader, Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 1988.
- —, ed. (1990). Poets from the north of Ireland. Revised ed. Belfast: Blackstaff Press..
- The Collected Poems of John Hewitt, Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 1991.
- A Rage for Order: Poetry of the Northern Ireland Troubles, Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 1992.
- The Hip Flask: Short Poems from Ireland, Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 2001.
- The Blackbird's Nest: An Anthology of Poetry from Queen's University Belfast, Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 2006.
- The Selected Poems of John Hewitt (co-edited with Michael Longley), Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 2007.
List of poems
|Bog cotton||2013||Ormsby, Frank (March 4, 2013). "Bog cotton". The New Yorker. 89 (3): 26. Retrieved 2015-05-06.|
- Frank Ormsby profile, contemporarywriters.com; accessed 15 November 2015.
- Belfast Telegraph. Frank Ormsby: Life at Inst was very different from my upbringing. 23 March 2015. Accessed 14 July 2016.
- "Some Older American Poets by Frank Ormsby", theguardian.com, 17 October 2009.
- Carol Rumens, "Poem of the week: Fireflies by Frank Ormsby", The Guardian, 19 December 2011.
- Frank Ormsby's Bog Cotton, The New Yorker, 4 March 2013
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