Famously Bad Poet Fetches Big Bucks at Auction

Verses from the 'world's worst poet' fetch big bucks at auction
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2008 8:05 AM CDT
Part of a collection of works, written and published by William McGonagall, the 19th century Scots poet renowned for his lack of poetic ability.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – William McGonagall had a tough time after deciding poetry was his calling, being roundly insulted by critics and even pelted with rotten fruit. But the 19th-century Scotsman has been remembered long after his peers—as the worst poet ever to mangle the English language. His works commanded a price higher than a J.K Rowling first edition at an auction yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

McGonagall has become a celebrated figure over the years, admired for stubbornly clinging to his art, despite a lack of any evident talent for it. "Despite his ability to massacre poetic metaphor, his taste for banality, a weak vocabulary and his tortuous rhymes, his popularity has outlived many of his then-respected contemporaries," a literary expert notes.