John Finlay (January 24, 1941 - February 17, 1991) was an American poet and essayist.
Finlay was born at the Ozark, Dale County, Alabama, home of his maternal grandmother, to Jean (Sorrell) and Tom Coston Finlay. He grew up one of 5 children on his family's peanut farm near Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama. As a child he named the family cows after Greek gods and recited Shakespeare to them.
He was educated at the University of Alabama, earning a B.A. in 1964 and an M.A. in English in 1966. He then taught for 4 years at the University of Montevallo. In 1970 he entered Louisiana State University in pursuit of a Ph.D., which he earned in 1980. In the latter year, he also became a Roman Catholic.
Finlay was diagnosed with AIDS in 1981. He retired to live on the family farm in Enterprise and write full-time until his death ten years later.
- The Wide Porch, and other poems (with introduction by Thom Gunn). Florence, KY: R.L. Barth, 1984.
- Between the Gulfs. Florence, KY: R.L. Barth, 1986.
- The Salt of Exposure: Poems. Omaha, NE: Cummington Press, 1988.
- Notes for the Perfect Poem (edited by David Middleton). 1991.
- Mind and Blood: The collected poems (edited by David Middleton). Santa Barbara, CA: J. Daniel, 1992.
- The American Tragedies: A chronology of six poems (edited by David Middleton). Edgewood, KY: R.L. Barth, 1997.
Flaubert in Egypt: Essays on the Gnostic Spirit in Modern Literature and Thought (1993)
- Hermetic Light: Essays on the Gnostic spirit in modern literature and thought. Santa Barbara, CA: J. Daniel, 1994.
- A Prayer to the Father: Poetry and prose. Thibodaux, LA: Blue Heron Press, 1992.
- John Finlay at the Encyclopedia of Alabama
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