Friday, May 16, 2008

The World's Worst Poet?

Is William McGonagall the worst poet of all time? Many people think so. Thirty-five of his works are up for auction today. In spite of McGonagall’s reputation, or perhaps because of it, his works are expected to fetch high prices. McGonagall was Scottish and died in September 1902.

From 'World's worst poems' at auction:

Alex Dove, from auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull, said: "Poetry didn't really come to him until I think he was 47 and the voices in his head told him that he'd be able to write poems.

"Then he thought he was the best thing since sliced bread, he thought he should be the poet laureate and all sorts.

"He tried to hawk these poems around the streets of places like Dundee and he was notoriously encouraged to give performances just so people could make fun of him.

"Poet-baiting became an ongoing activity, they used to throw vegetables at him and all sorts."

The poems which are being auctioned in Edinburgh are expected to fetch more than rare first editions of James Bond novels, a Mickey Mouse book from 1931 and a first edition of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Ms Dove said: "I think he's still popular now because he's so bad, because they're so humorous and a lot of people have kept him going in the media, people like Spike Milligan, Terry Pratchett, and it means he's still in print 100 years later."

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