Contemporary British Poetry: Essays in Theory and Criticism

By James Acheson; Romana Huk | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
Ian Hamilton Finlay
and Concrete Poetry

Nicholas Zurbrugg

"Some questions require to be answered."
"You must ask me whatever you wish.
—Those things strung on the knotted string
You are staring at, are fish
."
"Fish?I thought they were socks."
He wrote me all down in his book.

As these lines from Ian Hamilton Finlay's early poem "O.H.M.S." indicate, his poetic vision is voluntarily metaphorical and mistrustful of ministerial rhetoric. 1 Finlay's mature work is equally resistant to the critic's compulsion to write it "all down" in their book; indeed, as Finlay himself has acknowledged, it is not his intention to be "an easy artist." 2

Finlay's poetry is not "easy," for a number of reasons.First, its very form—extralinear groupings of words, or words and images—takes the average reader by surprise. It is far easier to make naive jokes about the term concrete poetry than to trace this genre's artistic origins. Second, the fact that Finlay's explorations of this form span several media, such as the printed page, the card and poster, the folio of prints, the three-dimensional installation, and the allegorical garden, makes it difficult for one to place Finlay's work in familiar categories.Commenting upon "the small crisis of classification" brought about by the "bewildering variety of forms in which the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay has appeared," his fellow poet Thomas A. Clark notes how Finlay has variously been identified as "'the father of concrete poetry,' a gardener, a sculptor or (the current solution) simply an 'artist,' taking that word as a hold-all for any odd or unpredictable behavior."3

-113-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Contemporary British Poetry: Essays in Theory and Criticism
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 418

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.