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The Poems of Norman MacCaig

Publication Date
01 November 2009
Paperback (also available as an eBook)
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited

The Poems of Norman MacCaig

by Norman MacCaig - Find out more about the author


eBook also available at the iBookstore.

'I have always loved the mixture of strictness and susceptibility in Norman MacCaig’s work. It is an ongoing education in the marvellous possibilities of lyric poetry . . . He means poetry to me’ – Seamus Heaney

‘Norman MacCaig is an indispensable poet, and his Collected Poems is a wonder-book which will give years of pleasure’ – Douglas Dunn

’Magisterial’ – The Herald

’Deeply lyrical yet crystal clear in its language, MacCaig’s poetry is a must-have’ – Sunday Herald

'MacCaig is the poet who speaks to me most clearly of the Scotland I know. He had a strange gritty reserve but also a passion about landscape and the way people lived. I find his poetry constantly energising' – James Naughtie, The Daily Express

This collection of Norman MacCaig’s poems is offered as the definitive edition of his work. It has been edited by his son, Ewen. A prolific writer, MacCaig left about 600 unpublished poems after his death; 99 have been selected for inclusion here. The aim of the selection process was to sustain the overall quality of the 1990 Collected Poems, which was compiled by the poet. Unusually, MacCaig’s creativity did not decline with age, and most of the unpublished poems date from his seventies and early eighties, adding significantly to his published work from that period. Insight to the writer’s life and work is provided in an appreciative introduction by author and critic Alan Taylor, focusing on MacCaig’s life and times, and in a collection of MacCaig’s words on his own and others’ writing.

Norman MacCaig (1910-96) was born in Edinburgh. He lived there all his life, though lengthy annual visits to Assynt enriched his life and work. He attended the Royal High School, studied Classics at Edinburgh University and then trained as a teacher. Having spent years teaching in primary schools, he later taught Creative Writing at Edinburgh University, then at the University of Stirling. In later life MacCaig’s reputation grew even further and his work was recognised by the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry and many other distinctions. However, his reputation as the ‘grand old man’ of Scottish poetry rested less on these than on his continuing creative work, his teaching and reading, and his fruitful influence on younger writers.

For information on a whole raft of events to celebrate Norman MacCaig's centenary go to


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