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Ulster Launches Collection of Work by Scotch-Irish Poet Robert Dinsmoor

The University of Ulster has launched a new edition of the poems of acclaimed American Scotch-Irish Poet, Robert Dinsmoor.

Known as the ‘Rustic Bard of New Hampshire’ he was one of the most accomplished American poets of his generation, who could write and speak in Scotch or the Scots language, which he referred to as ‘the dialect of my ancestors’.

Born in 1757, Dinsmoor was raised in New Hampshire but could trace his family links back to Ballywattick near Ballymoney and Achenmead in Scotland.

His work – seen by many as the greatest achievement of Scotch-Irish writing in the 19th century – frames a vibrant culture whose ties of faith, family and friendship criss-crossed the Atlantic.

He records people, places and events with humour and compassion and his writing encapsulates the hopes and aspirations of migrants asserting their place within a confident, awakening nation.

It underlines the power of art in finding pathways between the Old and New Worlds and how Scottish literature and traditions could be celebrated and extended in North America.

The new collection of work, entitled ‘Robert Dinsmoor’s Scotch-Irish Poems’ has been edited by Dr Frank Ferguson, Lecturer in English at the University of Ulster and introduced by both Dr Ferguson and Alister McReynolds an Honorary Fellow at Ulster.

Dr Ferguson said: “We are delighted to see this book come into print as it demonstrates the profound literary and cultural links between Scotland, Ulster and North America in the 19th century which we hope to explore further.

“We are particularly grateful for the assistance that John Wilson, Professor of Communication and Professor Frank Lyons, Director of Arts and Humanities Research Institute, offered in the creation of this text’.

Added Mr McReynolds: “In America, the Dinsmoor family made a remarkable contribution to politics and engineering – as well as literature – with Robert’s brother and nephew Samuel Dinsmoor Senior and Junior both serving as Governors of New Hampshire.”

The collection of poetry is a culmination of research sponsored by the Institute of Ulster Scots Studies, the School of English and History and the Arts and Humanities Institute.

It is aimed at the general public and schools and provides a full introduction, teachers’ notes and a glossary.

‘Robert Dinsmoor’s Scotch-Irish Poems’ was formally launched recently by Dr William Roulston from the Ulster Historical Foundation, which published the book.

Copies are available through www.booksireland.org.uk/

For further details contact Dr Frank Ferguson: f.ferguson@ulster.ac.uk