This review is taken from PN Review 208, Volume 39 Number 2, November - December 2012.Fragmented Inheritance
For writer, reader, and critic alike, the idea of inheritance is a beast with which it is both difficult and necessary to grapple. It is personal and impersonal, local and global. Movements, moments, with and against the weft of what has come before take place and are communicated through a series of fragments and juxtapositions. Alec Finlay writes of the poem that it is 'fated to appear in time [...] fated to land us among remembrance', and that the 'child is agent of memory; children learn to remember through song, rhyme, and poesis, the technologies of language' (5 poem-objects, Ingleby Gallery, 2012). The poet's most recent pamphlets present us with meditations on the temporality and objecthood of the poem, the lyric expression's relation to memory, the uses of naming, and the poetic inheritance of both emotion and form.
Question your Teaspoons presents a picture of inheritance which engages directly with the close relationship between this figuring of child and poet.The 36-page pamphlet collects fresh poetic meditations on Stonypath by Finlay, marking a renewed engagement with and reworking of ideas of poetic inheritance (specifically with regard to his father, Ian Hamilton Finlay). These meditations on familial and formal inheritance provide new contexts to some of IHF's early work, as well as marking what may be a turning point in Alec Finlay's own work. It is immediately telling that the pamphlet's subtitle, 'Stonypathian Memories', takes as its placemarker 'Stonypath' rather than 'Little Sparta' - the two names mark a ...
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