John Ormond

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John Ormond (1923–1990), also known as John Ormond Thomas, was a Welsh poet and film-maker.


John Ormond Thomas was born on 3 April 1923 in Britain, at Dunvant, near Swansea. He studied philosophy and English at Swansea University, and at the same time studied painting at the Swansea School of Art.

His early verse appeared under the name Ormond Thomas, with work by James Kirkup and John Bayliss in Indications (1943). The advice of poet Vernon Watkins that he should not publish until he was 30 made him hyper-critical of his own work.

In 1945 he joined the staff of Picture Post in London.

He returned to Swansea in 1949, and for a while worked as a sub-editor on the South Wales Evening Post. In 1955 or 1957 he began a career with BBC Wales as a director and producer of documentary films. His films included studies of Ceri Richards, Kyffin Williams, Dylan Thomas, Alun Lewis and R. S. Thomas.

Ormond 'returned' to poetry in the mid-1960s, having destroyed much of his early poetry. He started publishing poems in the periodical, Poetry Wales. His first major volume, Requiem and Celebration, was published in 1969. His reputation was enhanced in 1973 by the appearance of Definition of a Waterfall and his inclusion in Penguin Modern Poets. A volume of selected poems was published in 1987.

His friendships with Dylan Thomas, Gwyn Thomas, Ceri Richards, Graham Sutherland, Daniel Jones, Kyffin Williams, were founded on mutual artistic respect.

He died in 1990.

His publications[edit]

  • John Ormond: Collected Poems", edited by Rian Evans, with an Introduction by Patrick MacGuinness (2015)
  • Cathedral Builders (1991)
  • Selected Poems (1987)
  • Definition of a Waterfall (1973)
  • Requiem and Celebration (1969)

Further reading[edit]

  • M. Wynn Thomas, 'Ormond, John (1923 - 1990)', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)
  • M. Wynn Thomas, John Ormond (1997)
  • R. Poole, 'John Ormond's Voices', in Poetry Wales; 16:2 (1980 Autumn), p. 12-24
  • R. Jenkins, 'The Anglo-Welsh poet John Ormond', in World Literature Today; 51:4 (1977 Autumn), p. 534-537
  • K. Smith, 'John Ormond: Poetry, Broadcasting and film', New Welsh Review, 95 (2012)


External links[edit]