By August 1, 2007 0 Comments Read More →

No Respect for World's Worst Poet

William McGonagall, the World’s Worst Poet (not trademarked, I don’t think, but should be) can’t even get a statue erected in his honor in his hometown. From the AP, via WaPo (“How to Celebrate ‘The World’s Worst Poet’?” by Ben McConville):

EDINBURGH, Scotland — The land that gave the world Robert Burns also has the dubious honor of producing the “world’s worst poet.” Now fans of the hapless William McGonagall are campaigning to put him in the pantheon of Scottish literary greats.

The late-19th-century poet’s work was so bad he carried an umbrella with him at all times as protection from the barrage of rotten tomatoes he faced wherever he recited.

And to think I hadn’t even heard of “poet baiting” until this very moment.

McGonagall Online provides a comprehensive guide to the life and works. The Gem of the Day quotes from his “Loch Katrine”:

BEAUTIFUL Loch Katrine in all thy majesty so grand,
Oh! how charming and fascinating is thy silver strand!
Thou certainly art most lovely, and worthy to be seen,
Especially thy beautiful bay and shrubberies green.

Warning: they’re not just bad, they’re long.

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About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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