This Goodly Land

John Finlay (January 24, 1941–February 17, 1991)

Other Names Used

Alabama Connections

Selected Works

Biographical Information

John Finlay was born in Ozark, Ala., and grew up on his family’s farm near Enterprise. As a boy, he loved to read Shakespeare, and he sometimes recited passages from the plays while caring for his family’s dairy cows. Finlay attended the University of Alabama, earning a BA in 1964 and an MA in 1966, both in English. Following graduation, he taught for four years at the University of Montevallo. In 1970, Finlay enrolled in the doctoral program at Louisiana State University. He earned his PhD in 1980, the same year he converted to Roman Catholicism. In 1981, Finlay returned to his family’s farm and remained there for the rest of his life, engaged in writing and scholarship. Three chapbooks of his poems were privately published during this period. Finlay was diagnosed with AIDS in 1982 and died in 1991. Collections of his poems and his essays were published posthumously.

Interests and Themes

Major subjects and concerns of John Finlay’s poems include Southern history and culture, religion, and ancient civilizations. His scholarly essays examine Western literature and philosophy.

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Reference Books

Reference Articles

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Location of Papers

Photo courtesy of Jean S. Finlay and JoAnn Hall.

Last updated on May 30, 2008.

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