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James Finnegan

James Finnegan


James Finnegan was the second-prize winner in the 2022 Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition and was shortlisted in the 2021 Bridport Poetry Prize and in the 2018 Hennessy Literary Awards for Emerging Poetry. A sonnet, ‘The Weather-Beaten Scarecrow’, was published in The Irish Times in August, 2021. James, who taught in St Eunan’s College for thirty-three years, holds a doctor of philosophy in living educational theory from the University of Bath. Originally from Dublin, he now lives in Donegal.

Genre: Poetry
Number of publications: 1

Here is a poet of existential crisis, but one who can do a youth-shuffle every bit as adroitly as Van Morrison. The Weather-Beaten Scarecrow is a joy to read.

— Thomas McCarthy

Sample Work

I Don't Believe in Angels

I push against
the ash branches
of morning
and evening sky
folding back
in my stretch for
the good dark
in things
the felt unseen
through the atria
some suited angel
in hobnailed boots
crumbling earth
grinding pretend-time
I am almost certain
I am not
out of my mind

A Posteriori

fainting goats faint for a reason
not a reason they themselves
have thought about
they fall over
then quickly pick
themselves up again
it is not a case
of I can’t go on
& then I’ll go on
but rather
I fall & rise again
to munch sweet meadow brush
& isn’t that a good
enough reason for a fall
in the first place




Reading at Write by the Sea Festival


The Weather-Beaten Scarecrow
The Weather-Beaten Scarecrow By James Finnegan By Doire Press

ISBN: 978-1-907682-91-9 | Pages: 80 | Published in: 2022

In The Weather-Beaten Scarecrow, the second poetry collection by James Finnegan, he focuses on place, history, nature, movement, animal, landscape, humanity and what it means to have clear space for rest and thought. It contains poems of loss, joy, solitude, love of life and a sustained sense that something worthwhile abides and abounds.