Selected Poetry of Norman MacCaig

Selected Poetry of Norman MacCaig

Selected Poetry of Norman MacCaig National 5 - Specified Texts The Big Picture During the course of this unit we will: Study a range of poems by the Scottish poet Norman MacCaig. Look at the poems in detail (both in your

group and individually), analyse the techniques used and their effectiveness. Complete a variety of textual analysis questions on the poems in preparation for the Critical Reading exam. Compare and contrast the poems. Learning Intentions I will: Develop my understanding of MacCaigs work by studying, in detail, the techniques used by the poet

and their effectiveness. Identify how the writers main theme or central concerns are revealed and can recognise how they relate to my own and others experiences identify and make a personal evaluation of the effect of aspects of the writers style and other features appropriate to genre using some relevant evidence and terminology. Success Criteria I can:

Confidently discuss aspects of MacCaigs work (such as language and imagery) using supporting evidence with my group. Confidently answer a variety of questions on the work of Norman MacCaig Confidently contribute my opinion and encourage others to express themselves Why study these poems? The national 5 course requires that each

student has previously studied one of a selection of Scottish texts before they sit the exam. The following slides show section 2 of the final National 5 exam Section 2: Critical Reading This section has two parts. In each part, one question will be chosen from a range of questions set to cover the genres of drama, prose or poetry.

In each part, you must cover a different genre and cannot use the same text twice. This Section will have 40 marks. Each Part will have 20 marks. Part A: Critical Essay You will answer one question from a range of questions. You will provide an extended written response, based on a previously studied text.

Part B: Scottish Texts You will answer one question from a range of questions, based on a list of specified Scottish texts. One extract from a previously studied specified Scottish text will be selected. Part B: Scottish Texts You will answer one question from a

range of questions, based on a list of specified Scottish texts. One extract from a previously studied specified Scottish text will be The poems of selected. Norman MacCaig will be our Scottish Background to

the Poet Born in Edinburgh in 1910. Although he spent all his childhood and his later life in Edinburgh, his mother's Highland past was a great influence. MacCaig's mother was from Harris and the Gaelic heritage inherited had an enduring effect on MacCaig. MacCaig's attended the Royal High School and then Edinburgh University where he studied Classics and then trained to be a primary school teacher. During the war MacCaig refused to fight because he did not want to kill people who he felt were just the same as him. He therefore

spent time in various prisons and doing land work. In 1967, MacCaig became the first Fellow in Creative Writing at Background to the Poet As he became older, MacCaig's fame spread and he received such honours as the O.B.E. and the Queen's Medal for Poetry, yet it was at home in Edinburgh and Assynt where he was probably most appreciated. This was evident at his 75th, 80th, and 85th birthday parties when the cream of

the Scottish literati and musicians came together for readings and musical performances. By the time of his death in January 1996, Norman MacCaig was known widely as the grand old man Specified Poems Assisi Visiting Hour Aunt Julia Basking Shark Memorial

Sounds of the Day Sounds of the DayBackground TASK 1. The title of the poem is Sounds of the Day. What sounds do you hear during a normal day? Imagine yourself over a day in your life; the morning, afternoon and the sounds of the evening. Write as many sounds down as you can think of.

e.g. My morning alarm Sounds of the DayBackground TASK 2. Now select some of noises you have written down. Use sound techniques such as alliteration or onomatopoeia to bring these sounds to life. e.g. the buzz of the morning alarm (onomatopoeia) the soft shoe squeak of gym halls (alliteration )

Sounds of the DayBackground What did we come up with? Sounds of the Day by Norman MacCaig We are now going to listen to Norman MacCaig read the poem Sounds of the Day aloud. Listen carefully and follow the poem in your workbook. Try to understand what this poem is about.

Sounds of the Day When a clatter came, it was horses crossing the ford. When the air creaked, it was a lapwing seeing us off the premises of its private marsh. A snuffling puff ten yards from the boat was the tide blocking and unblocking a hole in a rock. When the black drums rolled, it was water falling sixty feet into itself.

Sounds of the Day When the door scraped shut, it was the end of all the sounds there are. You left me beside the quietest fire in the world. Sounds of the Day by Norman MacCaig I thought I was hurt in my pride only,

forgetting that, when you plunge your hand in freezing water, you feel a bangle of ice round your wrist before the whole hand goes numb. First Impressions Now that we have heard the poem through once, you will re-read it yourself and answer the following questions in your workbook.

These will help us to understand the poem further. The Sounds Stanzas 1 and 2 Questions Stanzas 1 and 2 1.The poem is called Sounds of the Day. Reread the first twelve lines of the poem. Write down any examples you can find of: (i)Alliteration: (ii) Onomatopoeia

2. The poet uses sound techniques throughout stanza one. For example, the horses make a repeated c sound and the lapwing uses a repeated s. According to the poet, what sound does the water make? Questions Stanzas 1 and 2 3. What do the sounds- horses, lapwing, tide and water all have in common? 4.The poet uses the words seeing us off, blocking, black, and falling. What do

these words suggest about the atmosphere in these stanzas? Questions Stanzas 1 and 2 5. What word does the poet use repeatedly in stanza one and two that make these lines seem like memories? 6. Look at the structure of lines 10-12. How does the poet use structure here to emphasise the importance of these lines?

Answers 1.The poem is called Sounds of the Day. Reread the first twelve lines of the poem. Write down any examples you can find of: (i)Alliteration: clatter came crossing, (ii) Onomatopoeia: clatter, creaked, snuffling puff, blocking , unblocking, rolled. 2. The poet uses sound techniques throughout stanza one. For example, the horses make a repeated c sound and the lapwing uses a repeated s.

According to the poet, what sound does the water make? ck blocking, unblocking, rock, black. Answers 3. What do the sounds- horses, lapwing, tide and water all have in common? These are the sounds of nature. 4.The poet uses the words seeing us off, blocking, black, and falling. What do these words suggest about the atmosphere in these stanzas?

Negative. These words suggest a gloomy, sad atmosphere. Answers 5. What word does the poet use repeatedly in stanza one and two that make these lines seem like memories? When 6. Look at the structure of lines 10-12. How does the poet use structure here to emphasise the importance of these lines?

The poet uses enjambment. This emphasises words such as end. Nature sounds When a clatter came, it was horses crossing the ford. When the air creaked, it was a lapwing seeing us off the premises of its private marsh. A snuffling puff ten yards from the boat was the tide

blocking and unblocking a hole in a rock. When the black drums rolled, it was water falling sixty feet into itself. The Silence Stanzas 3 and 4 Questions Stanzas 3 and 4 1. Look at stanza three (lines 13-14). You left me

Beside the quietest fire in the world. (i)Describe the image you see when you read these lines: (ii) Considering this image, how do you think the speaker feels? (iii) How does the poet use structure to emphasise this feeling? (iii) What example of word choice does the poet use to emphasise this feeling? Questions Stanzas 3 and 4

2. The first two stanzas feature many sounds and sound effects. How does this compare to the number of sounds in stanzas three and four? 3. The poet uses freezing water as an image in stanza four. What image does this directly contrast with in stanza one? Questions Stanzas 3 and 4 4. Look at the final lines of the poem (lines 17-20).

When you plunge your hand in freezing water, You feel A bangle of ice round your wrist Before the whole hand goes numb. In your own words, what do you think the writer is trying to say in these lines? (what is he comparing to what?) Answers Stanzas 3 and 4 1. (i)Describe the image you see when you read these lines:

A sad cold figure close to a very small fire. (ii) Considering this image, how do you think the speaker feels? Lonely/isolated and very unhappy- lacking warmth. (iii) How does the poet use structure to emphasise this feeling? Isolates these lines into a short, powerful stanza. Enjambment highlights that he has been left. (iii) What example of word choice does the poet use to Answers Stanzas 3

and 4 2. The first two stanzas feature many sounds and sound effects. How does this compare to the number of sounds in stanzas three and four? There are no examples used. This highlights the void created by her death. 3. The poet uses freezing water as an image in stanza four. What image does this directly contrast with in stanza one? The free flowing water e.g. the rain in stanza one

Answers Stanzas 3 and 4 4. Look at the final lines of the poem (lines 17-20). In your own words, what do you think the writer is trying to say in these lines? (what is he comparing to what?) The bangle of ice describes the intense cold pain of the raw and painful sense of loss experienced here. Just as a bangle is restrictive and remains with you, so too does the feeling of loss.

Key Themes Facing Death (either the dying person, or the relative) Nature and mans connection to nature Contrasts The poet deliberately uses contrasts in this poem to show the difference since he has been left alone Stanza One and Two

Stanza Three and Four Sounds Lifelessness, Death Memories of past Ice / freezing water loneliness Door open Romantic/thoughtful tone

Contrasts The poet deliberately uses contrasts in this poem to show the difference since he has been left alone Stanza One and Two Stanza Three and Four Sounds Silence Nature/Life

Lifelessness, Death Memories of past The present Free flowing water Ice / freezing water

Surrounded by nature loneliness Door open Door closed Romantic/thoughtful tone Melancholic

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