Renderings and remembrances of Norman MacCaig

August 13, 2010

Hens at work. By Flickr user Escarião under a Creative Commons license

One event that we’re really looking forward to at the Edinburgh International Book Festival is on Tuesday 17 August at 3:30pm, when Douglas Dunn and Mandy Haggith will remember Norman MacCaig.

2010 is the year of MacCaig’s centenary, so we’re taking more than usual pleasure in celebrating him and his unique contribution to Scottish literature. Douglas Dunn, poet and friend, will be joined by Mandy Haggith, poet and founder of Top Left Corner – acknowledging MacCaig’s love of Assynt – for readings and fond reminiscence. It’s also chaired by our own Lilias Fraser.

Here’s a wee mouth-watering snippet from our Poetry Reader issue 7 (originally from Alan Taylor’s interview with him in the Sunday Herald), as Seamus Heaney (another of this year’s participants) remembers his first encounter with MacCaig’s work:

As (Heaney) has recalled, his first encounter with MacCaig’s work was his poem ‘Summer Farm’ (“Straws like tame lightnings lie about the grass/And hang zigzag on hedges”). Such images, he thought, were simply brilliant. “A unique continuum of wiliness and sensuousness. The minimal and the dotty (‘A hen stares at nothing with one eye,/Then picks it up’) transposed into a metaphysical key.”

ScottishPower Studio Theatre | £10 / £8

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