• Carmen Milligan

Today is Bad Poetry Day!

On the literary calendar, August 18 is "Bad Poetry Day". Let me introduce you to a most famous poetry mangler.

William Topaz McGonagall was born in Ireland in 1825, and became known as the worst poet in British history. He was, productive, however, penning almost 200 poems. He is best known for "The Tay Bridge Disaster", which is still in print. With its terrible rhyming and cavalier interpretation (75 people died when the bridge did, indeed, collapse), people were both shocked and appalled. Quickly, though, he became a laughing stock.

His works were deemed so bad that audiences threw rotten fish, vegetables, and eggs at him, and his performances and readings were eventually banned. Even so, he seemed to possess an unusually high degree of self-confidence, continuing his public appearances. It is rumored that he even hiked to Balmoral castle to perform, uninvited, for Queen Victoria. He also indicated that he would like to be considered for the post of poet laureate. Thank goodness, the Queen was not in residence.

Celebrate Bad Poetry Day by reading a few missives from this infamous poet!

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