Form and structure

Hotel Room, 12th Floor is written in free-verse, an approach that MacCaig began to use more widely from the publication of 'Surroundings' in 1966.

Free-verse often freed MacCaig to explore themes without a restrictive, defined structure – Hotel Room 12th Floor is a good example of this, as is Visiting Hour.

Consisting of three stanzas of varying length, Hotel Room, 12th Floor does not have a rhyming scheme. Stanza One reflects how the city looks in the morning and focuses on the bright, modern appearance of the city.

MacCaig moves to night at the close of the stanza to suggest a darker, more dangerous city.

Stanza Two explores this threatening night world in more detail and links it to the Wild West.

The shortest of the stanzas, Stanza Three is an effective summary of the poem's themes, bringing together societal concerns. By giving the two sentences that comprise stanza three a stanza of their own, MacCaig gives significance to their content.

Hotel Room, 12th Floor is in the first person. It documents a personal experience of MacCaig’s like Aunt Julia and Basking Shark but, like both of these poems, its concerns are not limited to MacCaig – he uses the poem, and his own experiences described, to pose broader questions about humanity.