Little Sparta: Wild Hawthorn Press, 1995
10.3 x 14cm, 2pp, Artist’s card printed black on deep green. The full title is “A SEASONAL MONUMENT TO THE SOVIET POET MAYAKOVSKY*” beneath which is the line “The smashed canoes of the Salix fragilis”. Salix fragilis is the willow tree. Mayakovsky killed himself after his love affair with three different women turned sour – he left a poetic suicide note that included the words “The love-boat has come to grief/On the reefs of convention.” The crack willow trees are known to break open (usually with a very loud noise) and Finlay’s metaphor of a “smashed canoe” reflects the poem left behind in Mayakovsky’s flat. VG+.

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