The world’s worst poet

Posted by Paul

Dubbed the City of Discovery (after Captain Scott of the Antarctic’s exploration vessel), Dundee is famous for many things.

Towards the end of the Victorian era, the city was renowned for its three Js – Jute, Jam and Journalism.

Then there’s the magnificent Tay Rail Bridge, which at two miles long was the longest bridge in the world on its completion.

And locals still wax lyrical about the great Dundee FC who sent shockwaves through Europe in the early 60s and nearly became Britain’s first European Cup winners.

And then of course there is William McGonagall.

He has been widely hailed as the writer of the worst poetry in the English language.

It was not uncommon for Dundonians to pelt him with rotten veg during a reading in the late 19th Century.

But the poetry of The Tayside Tragedian is this week set to go under the hammer at auction, and may fetch up to £6,500.

That would put his works in the same league as first edition copies of Harry Potter books signed by author JK Rowling.

Maybe he wasn’t so bad after all.

Here’s a sample of his most famous poem entitled The Tay Rail Disaster

"So the train mov’d slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay…"

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35 Responses to The world’s worst poet

  1. Edward says:

    Well, He was one of my heroes.  His works only seemed like nonsense if you didn\’t read them properly.  His son wrote also.
     
    I am a bit defensive about our disappearing culture – perhaps if more of us had the balls to stand up and take the rotten veg, we would have had more to leave for our children.
     
    Is is true that Dundonians stoned Churchill during his visit there?
     
    I reckon Billy Mac should be side by side on the square with Desperate Dan.
     
    \’Mon the coos!

  2. Edward says:

    (By the way – he wrote in DORIC not English)

  3. ian says:

    the locals also wax lyrical about the great Dundee United FC who sent shockwaves through Europe in the 80,s (European semi final ,UEFA Cup final , beating the  mighty Barca on the way.)
    In honour of McGonagall , his Silvery Tay poem is etched into the pathway on Riverside Drive and has been named McGonagall way.
    There are many myths surrounding Churchill ,(many dont know that he was never  actually voted Prime minister,) but when he was chased out of Dundee ,he vowed that , " the grass would grow out of your machines, "A prophesy that sadly became true.

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