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Finlay mss. II, 1965-1973

Summary Information

Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
Lilly Library
Indiana University
1200 E. Seventh St.
Bloomington, IN 47405-5500
Phone: 812-855-2452
Fax: 812-855-3143

Finlay, Ian Hamilton.

Finlay mss. II, 1965-1973

Collection No.
LMC 1407

1080 items

Materials are in English.

The Finlay mss. II, 1965-1973, consists of correspondence and writings of Ian Hamilton Finlay, 1925- , poet of Stonypath, Dunsyre, Lanark, Scotland.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Biographical Note

An influential proponent of concrete poetry, Finlay moved from solely literary forms of poetry, drama, and short stories in the 1950's to kinetic forms of poetry expressed in stone, wood, neon and other tangible structures in the 1960's. Boats and boating, sails and the sea were used by Finlay to suggest poetic ideas in many of his poems such as Archangel of Archangel, Boatyard, Four Sails, The Four Seasons..., Homage to Gomringer, Little Drummer boy, The Old Nobby, Seashells, Sepia Barge and others. Sundials were used in like manner as in Arcadian Sundials, Biggar Sundial, and Land/Sea Indoor Sundial. Letters exchanged with woodcarvers, stone carvers, photographers, typographers, printers, and artists give the instructions for the creation of many of his works. A book of poems, Poems to See and Hear , was prepared especially to introduce to children Finlay's poetic concepts. During 1968 to 1971 there was much work by Films of Scotland in the preparation of the films Ocean Stripe 5 and KY 365 based on Finlay's life and poetry.

Following an agreement with the Fulcrum Press in June 1968 to publish an edition of The Dancers Inherit the Party, a controversy developed over the next several years concerning the first appearance of the work. This involved lengthy correspondence with solicitors, members of parliament, librarians, staffs of magazines, newspapers, arts councils, and literary organizations as well as close friends and poets.


The collection is organized into the following series: I. General Correspondence; II. Writings; III. Fulcrum Press; IV. Miscellaneous.

Scope and Content Note

The Finlay mss. II, 1965-1973, consist of correspondence and writings of Ian Hamilton Finlay, 1925- , poet of Stonypath, Dunsyre, Lanark, Scotland. Letters are exchanged with other poets, artists, architects, designers in glass, photographers, all in pursuit of the construction of his poetry in concrete form. Also included is correspondence with Fulcrum Press concerning the problems involved in the copyright of The Dancers Inherit the Party.

Related Material

Finlay mss.; also located at the Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information
Acquired 1974.
Usage Restrictions
Prior arrangements are not necessary before coming to the Library, however, patrons from out of town are encouraged to communicate with the Library in advance of their visits to ascertain availability of materials.

Photocopying permitted only with permission of the Curator of Manuscripts, Lilly Library.

Preferred Citation
Finlay mss. II, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Series: Box 1 I. General Correspondence




(4 folders)


(12 folders)


Series: Box 1 II. Writings

Includes writings, correspondence and other related materials.

Aircraft Carrier

(3 folders)



Bath Roundels

Blue Water's Bark

Bring Back the Birch


A Calm in a Teacup

Canterbury Sundial

Carrier Draughts

Ceramic Workshop

Ceramic Lens



The Dancers Inherit the Party

Dishes and Mugs

Dividing the Light

Elegy for a Wheelbarrow

Estuary Cupboards

Et In Arcadia Edo

A Family

Family Portrait

Five Fore-and-Afters

Fleet Tankers



Box 2 Glass Poems

The Harbour

Haystack's Wisp


Homage to Jonathan Williams

Homage to Kandinsky

Homage to Kahnweiler

Homage to Modern Art

Homage to Pop Art

Homage to Victor Sylvestor

Homage to Seurat

Honey by the Water

Iron Ship


Kelso Arts Festival

Kelso collaborations

Land/Sea Sundial

Kite (Estuary model)

Littrack II

Littrack III

Mid-Pacific Elements


National Maritime Museum exhibit


Neon Lights project


Poetry Review project

Poetry workshop


The Rowan is Learning to Write

Silver Cloud

Sails with Numbers

Sail Wholemeal

The Sea's Waves

Shenval Press

Six Glass Engravings

Spiral Binding



Terra Mare

They Returned Home

Three Cornered Hat

Three Paving Slabs

Three Tea Cards


U-Boat Sculpture

Walking Through Seaweed

Wave/Unda Post



Weed Boat Masters Ticket

White is White

Winter Garden

Series: Box 2 III. Fulcrum Press




(11 folders)


Series: Box 2 IV. Miscellaneous



Includes programs, printed items, clippings, etc.