Norman MacCaig, who died in 1996, was a prolific poet whose later poetry is accessible and popular. This study locates him in his literary and social contexts and presents his work according to its major emphases. Although he did not manifest dramatic changes of attitude or form, there are substantial developments in his writing and these are explored. The chapters are inter-connected not sequential and the book aims to give a vivid impression of the whole poet. A sufficient number of poems are quoted in their entirety to provide readers, unacquainted with the poet, with an introduction to the poetry, while the discussion of issues and the analysis of individual poems should enhance the understanding and enjoyment of readers already familiar with MacCaig. The ambition of this book is not to suffocate the poems with commentary but to allow the intelligence, humour and humaneness of the poems to speak to the readers and shock, delight and challenge them.
Alasdair Macrae is now retired as Senior Lecturer in English Studies at University of Stirling where he taught for over thirty years. He was also a lecturer at the University of Khartoum for five and has travelled widely in parts of Africa, Middle East, Europe, Australia and the US. He has published many essays, chapters and reviews, mainly on modern poetry.