John Finlay (January 24, 1941 - February 17, 1991) was an American poet and essayist.[1]


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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1]



  • 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.[1]
  • Hermetic Light: Essays on the Gnostic spirit in modern literature and thought. Santa Barbara, CA: J. Daniel, 1994.

Collected editions

  • A Prayer to the Father: Poetry and prose. Thibodaux, LA: Blue Heron Press, 1992.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[2]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 David Middleton, John Finlay, Encyclopedia of Alabama. Web, June 19, 2016.
  2. Search results = au:John Finlay 1991, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, June 19, 2016.

External links

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