Norman MacCaig Poems

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Norman MacCaig
The cover of MacCaig's Selected PoemsNorman MacCaig (14 November 1910 23 January 1996) was a Scottish poet. His poetry, in modern English, is known for its humour, simplicity of language and great popularity. MacCaig was born in Edinburgh and divided his time, for the rest of his life, between his native city and Assynt in the Scottish Highlands. He was schooled at the Royal High School and studied classics at the University of Edinburgh. During World War II MacCaig registered as a conscientious objector a move that many at the time criticised. Douglas Dunn has suggested that MacCaig's career later suffered due to his outspoken pacifism, although there is no concrete evidence of this. For the early part of his working life, he was employed as a school teacher in primary schools. In 1967 he was appointed Fellow in Creative Writing at Edinburgh. He became a reader in poetry in 1970, at the University of Stirling. His first collection, Far Cry, was published in 1943. He continued to publish throughout his lifetime and was extremely prolific in the amount that he produced. After his death a still larger collection of unpublished poems were found. MacCaig often gave public readings of his work, in Edinburgh and elsewhere, these were extremely popular and for many people were the first introduction to the poet. His life is also noteworthy for the friendships he had with a number of other Scottish poets, such as Hugh MacDiarmid and Douglas Dunn. He described his own religious beliefs as 'Zen Calvinism', a comment typical of his half-humorous, half-serious approach to life.

the two friends
The last word this one spoke
was my name. The last word
that one spoke
was my name.... [read poem]
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