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Norman MacCaig

Norman MacCaig lives in Edinburgh. The most recent of his collections of verse is The Equal Skies.

Total Secret

Norman MacCaig, 21 January 1982

Though this satisfying and thoroughly documented book isn’t, and isn’t meant to be, a critical survey of Neil Gunn’s novels (28 of them, no less), it contains many judgments, many of which are quoted from letters and reviews. The authors tend to avoid making ‘value-judgments’ of their own, though their admiration for the books and for the man can’t help revealing itself.

Sacred Peter

Norman MacCaig, 19 June 1980

My acceptance of an offer to review the Kavanagh book landed me in a mess of puzzles. Peter Kavanagh, the poet’s brother, starts straight off, sentence one, by announcing: ‘When I write about Patrick Kavanagh I write as a partisan, as his alter ego, almost as his evangelist.’ And if you think that’s a dubious basis for a biography, what about this?

Paradise Lost

Nicholas Everett, 11 July 1991

During the 18th and 19th centuries verse surrendered its longer discursive and narrative forms to prose and confined itself more and more to the short lyric and the sequence of short lyrics. Much...

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Every three years

Blake Morrison, 3 March 1988

Now that poetry has been brought into the marketplace, and publishers have discovered how to make a modest profit from it, and now that publication outlets can be found in any good-sized store,...

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Writing a book about it

Christopher Reid, 17 October 1985

The most successful pieces in Norman MacCaig’s Collected Poems tend to be lists of one kind or another. He is best, too, when he has found something to celebrate. A poem such as...

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Retrospective

Donald Davie, 2 February 1984

Andrew Crozier has lately written an exceptionally searching essay about British poetry since 1945,* in which Norman MacCaig is named just once in passing. There is nothing wrong with that;...

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Accessibility

Derek Mahon, 5 June 1980

It would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I have taken the full measure, or anything like it, of Middleton’s Carminalenia, an intensely difficult collection about as far removed from...

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