Ian Hamilton Finlay

Ian Hamilton Finlay : Selections

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This volume surveys the life and work of the Scottish poet Ian Hamilton Finlay, who is best known for his extraordinary garden, Little Sparta, a unique 'poem of place' in which poetry, sculpture, and horticulture intersect. This book directs sustained attention to Finlay the verbal artist, revealing the full breadth and richness of his poetics. It illuminates the evolution from his early years of composing plays, stories and lyrical poems to his discovery of Concrete poetry and his emergence as a key figure in the international avant-garde of the 1960s.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 334 pages
  • 139.7 x 205.74 x 25.4mm | 385.55g
  • Berkerley, United States
  • English
  • Y ed.
  • 23 b-w photographs
  • 0520270592
  • 9780520270596
  • 390,569

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"The Scottish concrete poet, visual artist, short story writer, aphorist, editor, and 'avant-gardener' Ian Hamilton Finlay is one of the great polymaths of our time. His writings alone would put him in the pantheon of twentieth century poets. Finlay's son Alec, himself a poet, has now given us a selection of his father's writings, beautifully edited and annotated, lavishly illustrated, and with a superb new introduction to the work. I consider this book, long overdue, to be a milestone in publishing. --Marjorie Perloff, author of The Futurist Moment and Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by other means in the 21st Century

"Ian Hamilton Finlay was an entirely original, and continuously challenging, voice in the poetry of the English-speaking world over the second half of the twentieth century. This promises to be the first book in which his early verse, his concrete poetry and his distinctive compilations of aphorisms and 'sentences' are all substantially represented." --Stephen Bann, author of Ways Around Modernism

"When I was young and trying to figure out how to think about landscapes and gardens and their cultural histories, no one opened the garden gates wider than Ian Hamilton Finlay in his poetic and sometimes provocative print projects, garden sculptures, concrete poems (sometimes in actual concrete or stone), aphorisms, and other works. Finlay was a loner, a visionary looking backward to think on revolution and paradise, Arcadia and insurrection, and this book put together by his artist son Alec makes that work available for the first time in a long while, and as gorgeously as possible. Alec's long biographical essay is itself a hugely valuable resource for anyone interested in the elder Finlay's works, and then there are the poems, and the pictures..." --Rebecca Solnit, author of Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas

"Only a handful of poets working in the visual tradition in the twentieth century have a profile that shows up in the broader scenes of fine art and modern culture. Among them, Ian Hamilton Finlay is probably the most frequently cited. But the work and thinking of this complex, enigmatic, and sometimes controversial figure is not necessarily well understood. This new volume documenting the many facets of Finlay's work as a poet, sculptor, and thinker across many media and a lifetime of creative activity will make it possible to study and appreciate his work anew. This collection makes a welcome addition to studies in book arts, visual poetry, and conceptual art through the presentation of an artist whose contributions have registered across these fields." --Johanna Drucker, Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles

"While Ian Hamilton Finlay's career is one of complexity, as a creator he was a champion of the simple. Engaging regional melodies, quotidian objects, and native terrain, he took poetry back to its Greek root, 'to make.' This half-century journey--from folk poem to concrete poem to poem-in-the-world--is at all points filled with a vital restlessness." --Lisa Jarnot, author of Night Scenes

"One must never forget that poets are makers, most vividly so in Scotland, where William Dunbar's 'Lament for the Makaris' must still echo with uncanny poignance. Poetry is 'a made thing', as Robert Duncan put it. No poet will ever manage a word, much less a line, without all the resources of that art in timeless history sounding there, as each word finds its place in turn. There is no way to learn simply the intimacy of voice that Finlay has always, bringing one in to his physical person. It is a constant of his art in all its forms." --Robert Creeley, from the foreword to the 1996 edition of Ian Hamilton Finlay's The Dancers Inherit the Party and Glasgow Beasts, an a Burd
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Table of contents

Acknowledgments Autobiographical Sketch Introduction: Picking the Last Wild Flower EARLY WRITINGS Postcard from Glenlednoch The Money Walking through Seaweed From The Dancers Inherit the Party: The Dancers Inherit the Party Angles of Stamps O.H.M.S. Love Poem Ah, So That Is Why Bedtime Black Tomintoul Gift Frank the Bear Writes His Deb Friend Orkney Interior Optimist Milk Bottles Archie, the Lyrical Lamplighter The Writer and Beauty Finlay's House (in Rousay) The Chief Crop of Orkney Bi-Lingual Poem Island Moment Castles Jess The Island Beasts Wait for the Boat Two Variations on an Orkney Theme, with Notes Orkney Lyrics Twice Spring Holiday Catch Art Student Scene Poet End of a Holiday The Tug Glasgow Beasts, An a Burd Voyage Fishing from the Back of Rousay Another Huge Poem for Hughie Blossom Quarry, Rousay How to Be Happy Lucy's Wee Brother My Little Beat Mill in the West Poem on My Poem on Her and the Horse Such Is the World Lucky Midhope (All Gone) Dalchonzie The Pond of Oo (in Orkney) No Thank You, I Can't Come LATER WRITINGS Concrete, Fauve, Suprematist, Sequential, Kinetic and Optical Poems: Detached Sentences on Concrete Poetry Homage to Malevich A Peach an Apple Lullaby Acrobats Ring of Waves Green Waters First Suprematist Standing Poem Cythera Column Poem 3 Happenings Little Calendar Arcady Purse-Net Boat Net / planet Seams Net 3 Blue Lemons Names of Barges Point-to-Point 3 Norfolk Dishes From 'The Analects of Fishing News' From 'TA MYTIKA of Fishing News' From 'The Illuminations of Fishing News' From 'The Metamorphoses of Fishing News' Headlines, Pondlines One-Word Poems: a bird of dawning sea a heart-shape a spray, from a breton sea-hedge a sea-saw a water-lily pool osiris drip-dry curfew the boat's blueprint elegy for 'whimbrel' and petrel the cloud's anchor an orchard of russets a scotch daisy hill wave a grey shore between day and night a pinnate evergreen a patch for a rip-tide a keel with a tuck in it a machine for fishing from purse seine a sepia wild flower eec sea channel light-vessel automatic One-Line Poems and Monostich (I): The ABC of Tea Epicurus at Chatou A Pittenweem Fancy The Sea's / Waves Elegiac Inscription Stem Sea Your Name From Domestic Pensees Steam Drifter Evolution of the Boat Magic Vessel Sound Poem Kit Elegy for A From A Mast of Hankies: Preparations The Hanky Sails The Harbour The Old Nobby The Stopped Sailboat The End So You Want to Be a Panzer Leader? Fly Navy After Gael Turnbull Sundial Inscriptions: The Four Seasons as Fishingboats The Four Seasons in Sail The Four Seasons as Fore-and-Afters H)Our / Lady Be in Time Dividing the Light Earth * Air * Fire Umbra Solis Sundial (After Paul Claudel) From Detached Sentences on Gardening From Detached Sentences on the Pebble From Detached Sentences on Exile Two Translations Errata of Ovid Ovidian Flowers From Interpolations in Hegel The Months From Camouflage Sentences A Dryad Discovered Arbre (Tree) Hitler's Column From Table Talk of Ian Hamilton Finlay From Detached Sentences on Weather in the Manner of William Shenstone Heroic Anagrams Aphrodite Detached Paragraphs on the Anagram Anagrams: A Postscript Idylls Myosotis arvensis Memory Wildflower Stiles I One-Line Poems and Monostich (II): Dove, Dead in its Snows Poverty Pitted with Larks Fax, Idling in its Sails Monostich An Eighteenth Century Line on a Lukewarm Hotwaterbottle A Classic Monostich A Line Struck from James Thomson's Seasons A Valentine The Colours of the Vowels A Question for Lovers Posters (from The Little Spartan War) Some (Short) Thoughts on Neo-classicism And Even As She Fled (1) And Even As She Fled (2) It Is Not True In the First Chapters For the Best of the Jacobins You Cannot Step The French Revolution From The Ivory Flute Selected Dispatches of Louis Antoine Saint-Just: Clay the Life King The Sound of Running Water Heard through Chinks in a Stone Dyke His Bed a Meadow Mystic Sublime The Revolution 1794 From 'Clerihews for Liberals' A Reflection on the French Revolution Streiflichter From Proverbs for Jacobins From Detached Sentences on Friendship The Inscriptions From Flakes From Spring Verses Images from the Arcadian Dream Garden Epitaph The Brewster Buffaloes From Glider Days In the Manner of the Early Winters From New Proverbs From A Book of Wildflowers Homage to Lorine Niedecker Creels and Creels Lines of Foam Found Free-style Haiku Oak / Bark / Boat Line Light Lade Adaptation Variations Expectation Romanticizing 10 Sentences Cinema-Going Event A Stone Lemons without Bitterness Boat Boat Lore A Last Word Pledge (for Pia) Frisson Schlachtschiff The End ... Notes A Note on the Critical Heritage Selected Bibliography Credits
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Review quote

"A hugely enjoyable anthology of Finlay's writings, in prose, and truly beautiful-especially when surreal-verse." -- Andrew McNeillie Country Life "[Finlay's] temples are mock-historic edifices, but who are we to say that they are not sacred sites?" Booktryst "This welcome new volume ... is full of revelations that cast new light on the subject." -- Gerald Mangan Times Literary Supplement (TLS)
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About Finlay

Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006) was an acclaimed Scottish poet and artist. Alec Finlay is an artist and poet.
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Rating details

18 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 39% (7)
4 39% (7)
3 17% (3)
2 6% (1)
1 0% (0)
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