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Finlay, Ian Hamilton



Ian Hamilton Finlay was born in 1925 in Nassau, Bahamas, but returned to Scotland with his family as a child. During World War II he served in the RASC and afterward he worked as an agricultural laborer while he wrote short stories and plays, some of which were published in the Glasgow Herald or broadcast by the BBC in the 1950s. During this period he began writing rhyming poems which embodied native Scottish speech. The Dancers Inherit the Party was admired by American poets Robert Creeley and Robert Duncan.

The Wild Hawthorn Press was founded by Finlay and Jessie McGuffie in 1961 and the periodical Poor. Old. Tired. Horse ., published by them until 1968 served as a forum for new kinds of poetry which incorporated visual as well as verbal elements. In 1963 Finlay published Rapel, his first collection of concrete poems, and Standing Poem I , his first poem/card. In 1964 Finlay began to publish booklet-poems and poem/prints, as well as to experiment with poems set into a physical environment such as glass, wood, or stone. By autumn 1966 Ian and Sue Finlay settled at Stonypath, Dunsyre, Lanarkshire in the Southern Uplands of Scotland and began creating their reknowned garden. Finlay’s reputation as a concrete poet continued to grow throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He held his first one-man exhibition at the Axiom Gallery in London in 1968, and Ceolfrith Bookshop Gallery, Sunderland, held a retrospective exhibition on Finlay and Wild Hawthorn Press in 1970. In 1972 the Scottish National Gallery of Art mounted their own retrospective exhibition.

In 1968 Fulcrum Press agreed to publish a new edition of The Dancers Inherit the Party, but Finlay did not approve the changes they incorporated. The controversy aired in periodical editorial pages and among literary organizations and authors.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Concrete Poetry

Identifier: MS28
Abstract John Furnival (b. 1933), Ian Hamilton Finlay, Dom Sylvester Houédard, Henry Chopin and Tom Phillips expanded the genre of concrete poetry to pioneer the broader concept of visual poetry. This collection of concrete poetry includes correspondence and poems sent to John Furnival between 1963 and 1970 by Bob Cobbing, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Dom Sylvester Houédard, Aram Saroyan, Jiří Valoch, and Jonathan Williams and other concrete poets. The bulk of the collection consists of typopoems by Dom...
Dates: 1963 - 1970

Ian Hamilton Finlay Correspondence

Identifier: MS35

Poet Ian Hamilton Finlay was born in 1925 in Nassau, Bahamas, but relocated to Scotland with his family as a child. This collection contains letters between Ian Finaly or his wife Sue Finlay and literary friends John Furnival and Derek and Peggie Stanford.

Dates: 1949 - 1970; Other: Majority of material found within 1968 - 1970

Additional filters:

Artists 1
Gardeners 1
Pacifists 1
Poets, Scottish--20th century 1