Finch, Peter 1947-

views updated

FINCH, Peter 1947-


Born March 6, 1947, in Cardiff, Wales; son of Stanley Arthur (a DHSS inspector) and Marjorie Noele (a telephonist) Finch; married; wife's name Valerie (divorced 1995); partner of Sue Wilshere; children: two sons, one daughter. Ethnicity: "Welsh." Education: Glamorgan College of Technology, diploma (municipal administration). Religion: "Informal Buddhist." Hobbies and other interests: "Walking, history, music (specialist interest in old rock and roll, alternative country, ambient)."


Home—19 Southminster Rd., Roath, Cardiff CF23 5AT, Wales. Office—Mount Stuart House, Third Floor, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff CF10 5FQ, Wales. Agent—Paul Beasley, 57 Productions, 57 Effingham Rd., Lea Green, London SE12 8NT, England. E-mail—[email protected].


Poet, writer, editor, and critic. Worked variously as a tent and flag maker and payroll clerk; Oriel Bookshop, Cardiff, Wales, manager, 1973-98; Yr Academi Gymreig (Welsh national literature promotion agency and society for writers), chief executive, 1998—. Founder and former editor of Second Aeon (journal), Cardiff, founding member of Cabaret 246, Cardiff; former member of musical trio Horse's Mouth.


Poetry Society, Yr Academi Gymreig (Welsh Academy; fellow), Rising Dragon Tai Chi.


Welsh Arts Council grants and awards, 1968-69, for "No Walls" poetry readings, 1968, for Second Aeon, and 1969-70, for experimental poetry.



(With Stephen Morris) Wanted for Writing Poetry, Second Aeon Publications (Cardiff, Wales), 1968.

Pieces of the Universe, Second Aeon Publications (Cardiff, Wales), 1969.

The Cycle of the Suns, Ethos Publications (Glasgow, Scotland), 1969.

Concrete Poet, Vertigo (Cardiff, Wales), 1970.

Beyond the Silence, Vertigo (Cardiff, Wales), 1970.

An Alteration in the Way I Breathe, Quickest Way Out, 1970.

(With Jeanne Rushton) The Edge of Tomorrow, BB Books, 1971.

The End of the Vision, John Johns Ltd., 1971.

Whitesung, Aquila, 1972.

Antarktika, Writers Forum (London, England), 1972.

Trowch Eich Radio 'Mlaen, Writers Forum (London, England), 1977.

Connecting Tubes, Writers Forum (London, England), 1980.

O Poems, Writers Forum (London, England), 1981.

Blues and Heartbreakers, Galloping Dog Press (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 1981.

Some Music and a Little War, Rivelin Grapheme (London, England), 1984.

On Criticism, Writers Forum (London, England), 1984.

Reds in the Bed, Galloping Dog Press (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 1985.

For Jack Kerouac: Poems on His Death, second revised edition, Writers Forum (London, England), 1987.

Selected Poems, Poetry Wales Press (Chester Springs, PA), 1987.

Make, Galloping Dog Press (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 1990.

The Cheng Man Ch'ing Variations, Writers Forum (London, England), 1990.

Poems for Ghosts, Seren (Bridgend, Wales), 1991.

Five Hundred Cobbings, Writers Forum (London, England), 1994.

The Spell, Writers Forum (London, England), 1995.

Useful, Seren (Bridgend, Wales), 1997.

Dauber, Writers Forum (London, England), 1997.

Antibodies, Stride (Exeter, Devon, England), 1997.

Food, Seren (Bridgend, Wales), 2001.

Extrememly Useful: New and Selected Poems, Seren (Bridgend, Wales), 2003.


(With others), No Walls Broadsheets, Second Aeon Publications (Cardiff, Wales), 1970.

Typewriter Poems, Something Else Press, 1972.

How to Learn Welsh: A Guide Book for the Adult Learner, C. Davies (Swansea, Wales), 1978.

(With Meic Stephens) Green Horse: An Anthology by Young Poets of Wales, C. Davies (Swansea, Wales), 1978.

Small Presses and Little Magazines of the UK and Ireland: An Address List, thirteenth revised edition, Oriel (Cardiff, Wales), 1997.


Blats, Second Aeon Publications (Cardiff, Wales), 1973.

Getting Your Poetry Published, Association of Little Presses, 1973.

Between Thirty-five and Forty-two (stories), Alun (Port Talbot, Wales), 1982.

How to Publish Your Poetry, Allison & Busby (London, England), 1985, revised edition, 1998.

How to Publish Yourself, Allison & Busby (London, England), 1987, revised edition, 1997.

Publishing Yourself: Not Too Difficult after All, Association of Little Presses, 1989.

The Poetry Business, Seren (Bridgend, Wales), 1994.

Real Cardiff, Seren (Bridgend, Wales), 2002.

Contributor to anthologies, magazines, and journals, including PN Review, Ambit, Poetry Review, Stand, Poetry Wales, and Planet; compiler of poetry section of annual Writer's Handbook, Macmillan, and Black's Writers' and Artists Yearbook, A & C Black. Recordings include Big Band Dance Music, Balsam Flex, 1980; Dances Interdites, Balsam Flex, 1982; and The Italian Job, Klinker Sounds, 1985; Foodball—Finch Live at the Merlin, Hungary, 2003; Finch Performances, 57 Productions, 2004.


Real Cardiff Two: The Greater City; The Big Book of Cardiff, Seren (Bridgend, Wales), 2005; additional works in the "Real Wales" series; The Finch File, a volume of critical analysis, University of Wales Press and Salzburg Press.


Best known for his poetry performances that combine wit with surrealism and humor with erudition, Peter Finch's body of work spans decades, beginning with his first volumes published in the late 1960s by Second Aeon Publications. The imprint was the publishing arm of the literary magazine Finch founded, and which rose to become the leading British poetry journal. In Contemporary Poets, Finch said that his first influences were the "beat" poets, and later Whitman, the surrealists, and Japanese and Chinese poets and verse forms.

Finch has written several books to help aspiring poets and writers. Martin Booth reviewed 1985's How to Publish Your Poetry for the British Book News, noting that it "covers the entire poetry business." Finch hits all the bases in counseling readers on how to prepare a manuscript, submit to magazines, copyright their work, deal with editors, self-publish, run a small press, finance, and promote their work. He advises poets on readings and competitions and also sends up the red flag in discussing the dangers of publishing through a vanity press. He lists markets, publishers, editors, and events. Booth wrote that Finch "misses not a single trick. The book is quite simply the new testament of the poetry-maker, the primary standard guide to the poetry marketplace."

Among Finch's more recent collections, Useful offers poems inspired by works of art, as well as by icons and situations of Welsh, and universal, culture. These include blues music, children, ex-wives, parents, blue-collar workers, old clothing, beach stones, and writing classes. In Food, Finch collects his poems written since 1997 that deal with food: thinking about it, preparing it, and eating it.

Real Cardiff is described by Finch at his Web site as "an alternative guidebook, history, and literary ramble." References to the Arthurian past are followed by sections on industry, tourism, and government. Finch takes the visitor, either actual or armchair, on a tour of the grand estates, old pubs, and new bars of Cardiff, as well as venues for the poetry of a city that is noted for its arts and culture scene.

Finch told CA that he "works at the edge where poetry turns to music and writing becomes performance art" and is "currently engaged on new translations of Welsh poets and on hypertext experiments, including the extensive 'R. S. Thomas Information,' which mixes real with imagined resources."



Brown, Tony, editor, Welsh Writing in English: A Yearbook of Critical Essays, volume 2, New English Review, 1996.

Murphy, Rose, editor Contemporary Poets, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1970.


British Book News, July, 1985, Martin Booth, review of How to Publish Your Poetry, pp. 396-397.


Peter Finch Home Page, (May 16, 2003).