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Norman MacCaig Quotes


A Scottish poet. His poetry, in modern English, is known for its humour, simplicity of language and great popularity.
(1910 - 1006)

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A terrible thing about getting oldish is that your friends start dying, and in the last ten years I have lost seven or eight of my closest.
 

All I write about is what's happened to me and to people I know, and the better I know them, the more likely they are to be written about.
 

All those authors there, most of whom of course I've never met. That's the poetry side, that's the prose side, that's the fishing and miscellaneous behind me. You get an affection for books that you've enjoyed.
 

And if they haven't got poetry in them, there's nothing you can do that will produce it.
 

And in a way, that's been a help to me, because I take great passions for a particular poet - sometimes it lasts for many years, sometimes only for a while. This happens to everybody.
 

And it's impossible for me to read Henry James.
 

And some poets are far better read off the page because they're very bad speakers. I'm thinking of one in particular whom I won't name, a good poet, and he reads in such a dry, boring way, your eyes start drooping.
 

And the second question, can poetry be taught? I didn't think so.
 

Anybody who writes doesn't like to be misunderstood.
 

But I hang on to books. I love them. I even think they're very nice decor in a room - far better than paintings... That's not quite true!
 

But you'd have a job to find many of my poems which would seem to be very influenced by a particular person.
 

However, I learned something. I thought that if the young person, the student, has poetry in him or her, to offer them help is like offering a propeller to a bird.
 

I don't care whether a book is a first edition or not. I'm not a bibliophile in that word's natural sense.
 

I don't think of myself all the time.
 

I find it's impossible for me to read Proust.
 

I never think about poetry except when I'm writing it. I mean my poetry.
 

I only keep books that I like very much. Otherwise I'd throw them out.
 

I said I have no powers of invention. Well, I also have no powers of mimicry.
 

I used to fish the Border rivers, but nowadays you have to queue up for a shot and I can't stand that.
 

I used to have a great love for Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, the big boys of the last century.
 


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