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Avant-Folk: Small Press Poetry Networks from 1950 to the Present$
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Ross Hair

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781781383292

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781383292.001.0001

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Ian Hamilton Finlay: Scottish Futurist

Ian Hamilton Finlay: Scottish Futurist

(p.67) Chapter Two Ian Hamilton Finlay: Scottish Futurist
Avant-Folk: Small Press Poetry Networks from 1950 to the Present

Ross Hair

Liverpool University Press

Chapter 2 examines the formative period in Ian Hamilton Finlay’s career when he encountered the work of like-minded poets in the United States, including Niedecker. Chapter 2 argues that Finlay’s use of folk forms in his poetry during the late 1950s articulates a critical response to the orthodoxies of the ‘Scottish Renaissance’ at that time. Finlay counters what he perceived as the Renaissance’s cultural myopia and literary pretensions by developing a faux-naif folk poetry that consciously evoked the doggerel of the Scottish poet William McGonagall, as well as with an early twentieth-century Russian avant-garde. In doing so, this chapter argues, Finlay strategically situates his work in an international tradition of avant-garde innovation that subverts Renaissance nationalism.

Keywords:   Ian Hamilton Finlay, folk poetry, Scottish Renaissance, Russian avant-garde, concrete poetry

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