Norman MacCaig: Critical Essays

Norman MacCaig: Critical Essays

Norman MacCaig: Critical Essays

Norman MacCaig: Critical Essays

Excerpt

A book of critical essays on the work of Norman MacCaig is no doubt long overdue, but it is also a happy coincidence that this first volume of essays will appear to coincide with the poet's 80th birthday, in November 1990.

Norman MacCaig's poetry does not subdivide obviously or easily into discrete themes, topics, or periods, but we have tried in this volume to cover most of the obvious features of his work: his wit, his reputation as a 'metaphysical' poet, his own highly original use of metaphor and metre, his relation to other poets of the times, his relationship with Gaeldom and the Scottish landscape. On a more personal level, we examine how MacCaig's work deals with people, his feelings about them, how he relates to them and to the world in general. We also take issue with certain commonplaces about MacCaig's work, for example the notion that it avoids key questions of history and politics.

At the poet's insistence, we do not include a biographical essay. He believes first that it is irrelevant to his poetry, and secondly he regards his life as a teacher and later lecturer and poet as largely uneventful. For the purposes of this book, we have been happy to comply with this request. However, the Introduction here by Sorley MacLean and 'Poets' Pub: A Personal Tribute' byGeorge Mackay Brown , and in passing many of the other essays, do give glimpses of the poet's life and personality -- which are clearly visible in his work.

With the inclusion of Norman MacCaig as a set poet in SCE Higher Examinations, and the increasing attention paid to Scottish literature in many of our higher institutions, this book will be an indispensable aid to the understanding of MacCaig's poetry. We have tried wherever possible to avoid unnecessary critical jargon . . .

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