Donny O’Rourke’s ten poetry collections, the three CDs featuring his song lyrics and his television films and works for the theatre draw on a broad and deep range of influences. He has been called an urban seannachie – a storyteller – and folk song was his earliest inspiration. But show-tunes, chanson, satirical cabaret and Lieder also inform his readings and recitals. His poetry, whilst excluding no one, has attracted the attention of scholars and critics and appears in several textbooks. Donny has edited or co-edited a number of highly admired anthologies. Having had overlapping careers as a journalist, broadcaster, television executive and university teacher, Donny has always lived by language, with poetry at the centre of his vocation as a communicator. Over more than thirty years, as editor, producer, commentator, activist, impresario, board, committee and jury member, he has played prominent parts in almost every aspect of Scottish literary and cultural life. Fellowships, residencies, exchanges and visiting professorships have enabled him to write and teach extensively overseas. Recent commissions include a ballad for BBC TV’s The One Show; a poem for the Commonwealth Games; and a suite of texts to be inscribed and engraved in the new Maryhill Health Centre in Glasgow. Donny is a graduate of the Universities of Glasgow and Cambridge and an Honorary Fellow of the latter. His next volume of verse will be about his working class upbringing and the politics it shaped. He is presently revising a detective novel and developing a screenplay about an opera singer.
University of Glasgow, School of Education 2015-17