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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
29


on 2 January 2009
This book is wonderful- the poems are so acute, on pain, loss and the ridiculousness of being human. There are so many poems which I think of as favourites, until I light on the next one - a drunken cockerel, a fine dog getting old, the pigment in a painting, the stupidity of trying to surround yourself with expensive status symbols, and then the history and beauty of the country. The CD is a joy, and allows me to make the miserable daily journey on the M25 into something pleasurable - listening to Norman MacCaig's precise voice takes me away from the present situation completely, back to where I grew up, and often makes me laugh outright.
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on 20 August 2008
I was fortunate enough to have spent some time in Norman's company and we would spend an enthralling two hours and more discussing Poetry at different times..We were both reading our poetry on one occasion at a Poetry Festival in Leamington Spa and when I caught up with him he had two black eyes from being mugged by some thugs on the way coming down from Scotland to it.Nevertheless he was determined to keep that appointment even though he was obviously suffering.His poetry has always stayed with me as brilliant evocations of Scotland,of its changing moods and beauty caught and captured in often amazingly lovely or indeed ferocious conditions.Not only that of course for he was an astute observer of the multi-faceted nature of things and it is sometimes the delight of a poem like Frogs included in the book which becomes even more entrancing when you listen to the reading of it by Norman on the accompanying CD which is itself a treasure. I shall always remember him with affection and the "few crumbs of love" I have left from him are the signed copies of some of his books and some treasured letters he wrote to me.This is a magnificent book and far outshines the Collected Poems which I bought in 1990 as it has so many more poems now included than that edition has.My only wish is that the definitive edition of his work will soon be published. I miss him and I miss Sorley Maclean whose work is in some ways similar and who I also had the honour and privilege to have heard reading his poetry on Skye and elsewhere and discussions with him preparatory to completing my Dissertation on James Hogg the Ettrick Shepherd.
This book then I heartily recommend to everyone who enjoys poetry and to Poets in particular especially Scottish ones who desire to stretch their poetic legs. The World is the loser for his passing but this book will help those us who miss him most for here the spirit of the man is lovingly memorialized.
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on 11 November 2007
Individual collections of a poet's work are lovely to have and I do still enjoy them but all of Norman MacCaig's poems are right here in this one book and it's great. . . It is like having a big sparkly box of deliciously wrapped wee gifts all to yourself. . . I know how daft that sounds but it is exactly that to me . . I bought it on Wednesday, 25th May 2005 and I have taken out and unwrapped some things from it every single day since . . the clever people can tell you about the 'mechanics' of MacCaig's poetry, I can only tell you that it absolutely is for anyone who has ever loved . . anyone who has ever lost . . anyone who belongs to two places . . or who loves Assynt - Canisp & Suilven . . or animals . . or the Western Isles . . or Edinburgh or . . or anyone who gets up in the morning, looks out of their window and wonders about stuff - no matter what, no matter where . .
Along with Roger Hutchinson's "Calum's Road", this book goes with me everywhere.
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on 29 December 2009
At his best he writes poetry which is timeless. It captures feelings of time passing and loss as well as the landscape of Assynt. His poems are sharp as a razor and his cadences ring around my head like long forgotten genetic memories.
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on 30 September 2011
A wonderfull collection, and as another reviewer remarked, it should be on every shelf of all poetry lovers. Norman Mac Caig makes me laugh out loud, silences me with sadness, and above all reflect on the futility of some of the "essentials" we all love to hog. I envy his mesmerising sly eye for details; just superb.
I love to read Normans' work on wintery nights with a glass of malt at hand, and generally laugh out loud to the annoyance of all.
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on 14 September 2010
Norman MacCaig was and is one of Scotland's best poets. He may be dead; but his poetry survives, and you can access it by reading a book or going on the net.

Try Man in Assynt,and wonder why the place meant so much. Think of how he described the power of the Moon, our only satellite.

How about Assisi, where the 'dwarf with his hands on backwards', slumps while a priest expostulates about Italian architecture.

Reading MacCaig's stuff will do your head in.

Alasdair H. Macinnes.
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on 18 January 2011
The collected poems of Norman McCaig should be on the shelves of every lover of poetry and of all those who find poetry difficult to grasp. McCaig has a voice of his own, has never given way to fashions and styles, has closely observed and reported on the natural world and on the human condition.
The book is extraordinarily valuable to poets for the introduction alone with its inclusion of comments from McCaig on his writing processes.
There are over 500 pages to last any reader a life time.
Enjoy.
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on 11 September 2012
I have read poems by McCaig occasionally and appreciated his wonderfully apt descriptions of natural phenomena. This collection was originally purchased for a friend in Australia, but when I opened the package and started reading I was so entranced that any thoughts of letting this go vanished. I'll just have to buy another copy. Deeply touching, calming, unique. I cannot recommend this too highly.
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on 29 May 2013
There are not enough stars to describe how good this book is. Everyone with an interest in poetry should have one. I bought the kindle version and it suits this media as Norman was not one for long drawn out works. I always have it available to get me through even a short bus trip on my mobile phone. Discover words all over again with Norman's genius.
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on 10 July 2013
A wonderful book which now sits by the chair, waiting to be picked up and read often. I spend half of my life in the North East of Scotland, and reading these poems takes me North in my mind every time. His poems take me to an inner self too - one where everything is possible. Where I learn to look at the smallest thing with a touch of his keen mind. A really fantastic and uplifting book.
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