In a uniquely dualistic creative career spanning five decades, John Ormond made major contributions to both English-language poetry and documentary filmmaking. Born in Swansea, he learned to ‘think in terms of pictures’ while working as a journalist in London, where he secured a job at the celebrated photojournalist magazine Picture Post. Employed later by the BBC in Cardiff during the early days of television, Ormond went on to become a pioneer in documentary film. This book is the first in-depth examination of the fascinating correspondences between Ormond’s twin creative channels; viewing his work against the backdrop of a changing Wales, it constitutes an important case study in the history of documentary filmmaking, in the history of British television, and in the cultural history of Wales.
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‘Kieron Smith has written a truly pioneering book: a deeply researched analytical study of the work for television made by John Ormond, Wales’s greatest twentieth-century documentary filmmaker. Smith’s key argument is that Ormond’s sensibilities as a poet of considerable prowess informed the shape and the content of his disparate films through a creative duality rooted in the social and cultural context of post-1945 Wales. Nuanced, insightful, formidably scholarly and elegantly composed, John Ormond’s Organic Mosaic is an outstanding triumph.’ - Professor Dai Smith
'John Ormond’s Organic Mosaic is a timely book as it serves to remind us of the considerable contribution of a fine poet and poetic film-maker to Welsh culture, at a time when programmes about a country were also important in shaping a nation’s sense of itself, as well as informing the rest of Britain of our existence.' - Jon Gower, Nation Cymru
Kieron Smith is an Honorary Research Fellow at CREW (Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales), Swansea University.