December 1962

N.p. (Gloucester?): n.p., n.d. (c. 1962)
33 x 20cm, b/w offset lithograph. A single sheet with Finlay's ‘Semi-idiotic poem’' printed near the bottom Such "coded" works were invented by Décio Pignatari and Luiz Pinto and categorised as being part of a semiotic or code-poem genre. This poem was printed in Poor. Old. Tired. Horse. Nr 13 but also as part of a John Furnival published portfolio of Finlay's works. This appears to be an early and unused proof copy of the work and any further background is not clear. This example has a significant paper lack bottom right only just missing the image. Any information on this image would be welcome.

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N.p:. s.p. (Finlay), Christmas 1962
20.3 x 17.4cm, original typescript on typing paper - with an original poem entitled "Look, see" - the first work by Finlay that may well be identified as a visual or concrete poem that we know of. The text- :: "A star ah afar a ww ww wan wan" is similar to other more traditional works by Finlay of the time which used modern day Scots vernacular but the placing of the words one above each other connected by vertical lines (which would have taken some care in construction) give an additional meaning to the text - indicating the act of looking up at a star. The context of being a Xmas gift to Victor Vasarely (the letter is signed to him) gives this work a slight religious overtone.
The letter is hand typed but there was probably more than one made as the "Happy Christmas to" and "from" parts are typed and the name later hand written in by Finlay suggesting others to other friends were made but we have never seen another example of this work. This has been glued at some point in an album (there are paper lacks in the corners of the page where it has been removed and it is somewhat browned but this is an important and quite possibly unique document.

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Edinburgh: Allan Donaldson, 1962
21 x 14cm, 16pp plus card covers. This was Hugh MacDiarmid's "reply to charges made by Ian Hamilton Finlay and others".
A public dispute had taken place after MacDiarmid said that some poets were not worthy to be included in an anthology of new poems dedicated to Burns - this must have stung Finlay and his circle and a war of words took place following a personal meeting with Jessie McGuffie who MacDiarmid claims told him his work was boring and out of touch with contemporary life.
Because Jessie McGuffie was involved centrally with the Wild Flounder Press (the forerunner in name to the Wild Hawthorn Press) and Poor, Old, Tired Horse (sic) the dispute widened to include Finlay. MacDiarmid claims they accused him of failing to help younger Scottish writers and using his prominence in the field of Scottish letters to exclude others.
The book makes MacDiarmid's case against this (as one might expect) and then attacks Finlay directly - given MacDiarmid was Finlay's best man at his wedding then this is somewhat remarkable. MacDiarmid says that Finlay's published works (at this point mostly Glasgow Beasts a more traditional form of poetry) is 'all "old hat"'. The two poets have by now clearly fallen out badly.
This is one of 50 signed and numbered copies denoted as a "special edition". In a text at the front of the book inside the covers is found:
"HUGH MACDIARMID is undoubtedly great. And alike all great men before him, he has had the unpleasant experience of meeting the unreasonable and artless criticisms of the nonentities who surround art."
JOINT WITH
A letter dated 31 - 7 - 62 from a rare bookseller to one of his clients enclosing the book and inviting his client to a party for the publication of MacDiarmid's A Festschrift.
Both are VG+ and this is a major rarity with insight into the reaction of a literary bun-fight between poets.

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Kyoto: Cid Corman, 1962
21 x 15cm, 64pp plus typographic wrappers. This single number from the second series of Cid Corman's important little magazine, features 21 pages of poems by Finlay with additional material from Robert Creeley, Thomas McNicholas, Lorine Niedecker, Louise Zukofsky, Michael McClure, and others. Finlay's letter to Corman is reproduced as a de facto foreword. twenty poems mostly traditional but one "The Pond of OO Farm (Rousay)" could be regarded as one of the artist's very earliest concrete poems and as a result makes this an important book. Most have annotations in print by Finlay.
This is a very scarce publication - only 300 copies were published. Slight sunning along spine else VG+.

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Edinburgh; Wild Hawthorne Press, 1963
30 x 21cm, 4pp. The sixth number of Finlay’s monthly poetry publication with contributions by Bernard Kops, Larry Eigner, J.F. Hendry, Attila Jozsef (translated by J.F. Hendry and Edwin Morgan), Louis Zukofsky, Mary Ellen Solt, Günter Grass (translated by Jerome Rothenberg), Michael Shayer, Spike Hawkins, Marcelo Moura, Pedro Xista, and Augusto de Campos. This example is overall VG if slightly browned. Copies were sold for 9d each and were sometimes taken around University unions and departments or sold at poetry / literature evenings as well as by subscription.
Importantly this was the first number of POTH that contains a work that is clearly identifiable as a concrete or visual poem - the back cover has three works by Marcelo Moura, Pedro Xista, Augusto de Campos which Finlay notes are "Concrete Poems from Brazil". It appears it was the South American poets who first gained Finlay's attention and led him to primarily work in the milieu.
Some copies of POTH Nr 6 have a printed slip inserted announcing that "From now on, P.O.T.H. will contain graphic art as well as poetry" - although this copy does not have that slip - but that is a further indication that this was a pivotal number of the journal.

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n.p. : The Wild Flounder Press, 1962
11.7 x 17cm, 32pp. Card wrappers with blue on brown typographic design dust jacket. Finlay's third book of poems - as with other early Finlay poetry the language is Scots with touches of Doric. The poems all relate to animals and other creatures ("inseks" and a "fush") and there are papercuts by John Picking and Pete McGinn. This is the third edition of this book. There is a hand written ink dedication on the half title "For Paul (Robertson) Pette McGinn / 05". VG+ condition.

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Edinburgh; Wild Hawthorne Press, 1962
30 x 21cm, 4pp. The fifth number of Finlay’s monthly poetry publication with contributions by Andrei Voznesensky (translated by Edwin Morgan), e.e. cummings, Alan Riddell, Vasko Popa (translated by J.F. Hendry), Pete Brown, Tao Chien (translated by Cid Corman), Armand Schwerner; Hans Arp (translated by Jerome Rothenberg); Pablo Neruda (translated by Jerome Rothenberg); Theodore Enslin; Pekka Lounela (translated by Anselm Hollo); Robert Garioch; and Marvin Malone. As usual bits of Scots find themselves near more modern American poems although this issue had more translated works than usual. This is an extremely hard to find early number of this international review - hardly any exist on the open market. This example is overall VG if slightly browned. Copies were sold for 9d each and were sometimes taken around Universities or sold at poetry / literature evenings as well as by subscription.
This number of the series had what Finlay called "AMAZING FREE GIFT" in it: an 37.5 cx 24.3cm, 1pp inserted sheet (folded) printing a poem by William McGonagall illustrated by by Alexander McNeish with a linocut (Finlay's earliest publications often used lino and wood cuts by choice). McGonagall is and was widely regarded as a terrible poet and there is a degree of mischief in publishing this work - but here in it's full over rhymed glory is the story of how they killed one of the ocean's most fabulous creatures but got their trousers wet.

The Famous Tay Whale by William Topaz McGonagall

’TWAS in the month of December, and in the year 1883,
That a monster whale came to Dundee,
Resolved for a few days to sport and play,
And devour the small fishes in the silvery Tay.
So the monster whale did sport and play
Among the innocent little fishes in the beautiful Tay,
Until he was seen by some men one day,
And they resolved to catch him without delay.
When it came to be known a whale was seen in the Tay,
Some men began to talk and to say,
We must try and catch this monster of a whale,
So come on, brave boys, and never say fail.
Then the people together in crowds did run,
Resolved to capture the whale and to have some fun!
So small boats were launched on the silvery Tay,
While the monster of the deep did sport and play.
Oh! it was a most fearful and beautiful sight,
To see it lashing the water with its tail all its might,
And making the water ascend like a shower of hail,
With one lash of its ugly and mighty tail.
Then the water did descend on the men in the boats,
Which wet their trousers and also their coats;
But it only made them the more determined to catch the whale,
But the whale shook at them his tail.
Then the whale began to puff and to blow,
While the men and the boats after him did go,
Armed well with harpoons for the fray,
Which they fired at him without dismay.
And they laughed and grinned just like wild baboons,
While they fired at him their sharp harpoons:
But when struck with,the harpoons he dived below,
Which filled his pursuers’ hearts with woe.
Because they guessed they had lost a prize,
Which caused the tears to well up in their eyes;
And in that their anticipations were only right,
Because he sped on to Stonehaven with all his might:
And was first seen by the crew of a Gourdon fishing boat
Which they thought was a big coble upturned afloat;
But when they drew near they saw it was a whale,
So they resolved to tow it ashore without fail.
So they got a rope from each boat tied round his tail,
And landed their burden at Stonehaven without fail;
And when the people saw it their voices they did raise,
Declaring that the brave fishermen deserved great praise.
And my opinion is that God sent the whale in time of need,
No matter what other people may think or what is their creed;
I know fishermen in general are often very poor,
And God in His goodness sent it drive poverty from their door.
So Mr John Wood has bought it for two hundred and twenty-six pound,
And has brought it to Dundee all safe and all sound;
Which measures 40 feet in length from the snout to the tail,
So I advise the people far and near to see it without fail.
Then hurrah! for the mighty monster whale,
Which has got 17 feet 4 inches from tip to tip of a tail!
Which can be seen for a sixpence or a shilling,
That is to say, if the people all are willing.

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Edinburgh; Wild Hawthorne Press, 1962
30 x 21cm, 4pp. The fourth number of Finlay’s poetry publication with contributions by Georg Trakl (translated by Jay Corbett). Spike Hawkins. Heinrich von Morungen (translated by Anselm Hollo). J.F. Hendry. Helen B. Cruickshank. Tom McGrath. Bernard Kops. Alexander McNeish. Suzan Livingstone, and Lorine Niedecker. As usual bits of Scots find themselves near more modern American poems. This is an extremely hard to find early number of this international review - hardly any exist on the open market. This example is overall VG. Copies were sold for 9d each and were sometimes taken around Universities or sold at poetry / literature evenings as well as by subscription.

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n.p. : The Wild Flounder Press, 1969
11.7 x 17cm, 32pp. Card wrappers with blue on brown typographic design dust jacket. Finlay's third book of poems - as with other early Finlay poetry the language is Scots with touches of Doric. The poems all relate to animals and other creatures ("inseks" and a "fush") and there are papercuts by John Picking and Pete McGinn. This is the second edition of this book. There is a hand written ink dedication on the half title "For Paul (Robertson) Pette McGinn / 05". VG+ condition.

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Worchester and Ventura: Migrant Press, 1960
21.5 x 18cm, 36pp. Original blue on blue wrappers. Second edition of this Finlay's second book of poems - traditional in format mostly and usually in Scots/Doric. This has lino-cut illustrations by Zeljko Kujundzik. Scarce even as a second edition. This example has three hand-corrections by Finlay in the text as well as a tipped on correction to the title poem

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Edinburgh; Wild Hawthorne Press, 1962
30 x 21cm, 4pp. The third number of Finlay’s poetry publication with contributions by Robert Garioch, Jonathan Williams, Guillaume Apollinaire (translated by Dave Ball), César Lopez Nunez (translated by Jim Haynes); Larry Eigner, R. Crombie Saunders, Libby Houston, Edwin Morgan; Giacomo Leopardi (translated by Edwin Morgan); and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. As usual bits of Scots find themselves near more modern American poems. This is an extremely hard to find early number of this international review - hardly any exist on the open market. This example has been folded once for storage but is overall VG.

Batterday comes roun at last,
tairget of the five-day week,
jist in time to dip your wick;
whitna wey of life is this?

Robert Garioch: Scunner.

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Edinburgh; Wild Hawthorne Press, 1962
30 x 21cm, 4pp. The second number of Finlay’s poetry publication with contributions by Thomas Anhava, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Shimpei Kusano, Jerome Rothenberg, George Mackay Brown, Gerry A. Zdanowicz, Lesley Lendrum, Cid Corman, Attila Jozsef and Dave Ball. This is an extremely hard to find early number of this international review. A very good example.

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