Simmons, James

James Simmons
James Simmons. Courtesy The Gallery Press

James Simmons was born in Derry in 1933 and educated at Campbell College, Belfast, and at Leeds University. He taught in Northern Ireland and for three years in the sixties at Ahmadu Bellow University, Nigeria. On his return he lectured in drama and Anglo-Irish literature and the New University of Ulster, and founded and edited the literary periodical The Honest Ulsterman.
His poetry collections include Late But in Earnest (London. The Bodley Head, 1967); In the Wilderness and Other Poems (The Bodley Head, 1969); Energy to Burn (The Bodley Head, 1971); The Long Summer Still to Come (Belfast, The Blackstaff Press, 1973); West Strand Visions (The Blackstaff Press, 1974); Judy Garland and the Cold War (The Blackstaff Press 1976); The Selected James Simmons ([edited by Edna Longley] The Blackstaff Press, 1978); Constantly Singing (The Blackstaff Press, 1980); From the Irish (The Blackstaff Press, 1985); Poems, 1956-1986 ([Introduction by Edna Longley] Dublin, The Gallery/UK, Bloodaxe 1986); Sex, Rectitude and Loneliness (Belfast, Lapwing Press 1993); Mainstream (Galway, Salmon Poetry 1995); and The Company of Children (Galway, Salmon Poetry, 1999).
He published a critical study of Sean O’Casey (New York, St Martin’s Press, 1983); and Ten Irish Poets (Cheadle (UK), Carcanet 1974).
His recordings include City and Eastern (Belfast, NI Arts Council, 1971); Love in the Post (Coleraine, Poor Genius Records, 1975); Resistance Cabaret; and The Rostrevor Sessions (Rostrevor, Spring Records, 1987).
In 1994 he moved to Falcarragh, in the Donegal Gaeltacht, where along with his wife Janice Fitzpatrick Simmons, Cathal Ó Searchaigh and others, he re-established the Poet’s House/Teach na hÉigse.
He died in 2001.


James Simmons at The Gallery Press

James Simmons at The National Library of Ireland