The Scottish literary establishment has denied plans for a memorial to the poet William McGonagall, unofficially known as the worst published poet of all time. Fans of the horrible writer wanted to see a memorial constructed at the Writers Museum in Edinburg alongside Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Sir Walter Scott. Though plaques have been constructed in McGonagall’s home town of Edinburgh and his adopted city of Dundee, there are no statues of the poet. Those who oppose the memorial say that the fan support is due to mockery rather than appreciation, poking fun at McGonagall’s lack of talent that he himself found to be on the same level as Shakespeare’s work. These are the same fans who give regular recitals of his poetry and the celebration of McGonagall night, a parody of the Burns supper that marks the respected poet’s birthday with Scotch whisky. Instead, they eat a meal back to front staring with the dessert and ending with the starter.

McGonagall was born in March 1825 to Irish parents who moved to Scotland to raise their family. His father worked in the cotton industry in Edinburgh where they stayed for eight years. William was the youngest and was sent to school where he got himself into trouble. He later worked in the mill for a few years before his father taught him how to use a handloom. He had a great passion for the stage, especially works by William Shakespeare and often performed in the Theatre Royal Dundee as Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, and Richard III. In 1877, he took up writing, and his first piece was written to the Rev. George Gilfillan to the Weekly News using only his initials to identify himself with. He later went on to write an address to Robert Burns, and the Queen which earned him Royal Patronage.

His work was so bad, however, that he carried an umbrella with him to protect him from the rotten tomatoes which were thrown whenever he recited his work. His most famous work is a poem titled “The Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay” which required a rewrite when the bridge collapsed in 1879. Despite his reputation, he remained in print until his death in 1902. Now his fans are hoping he can get the credit they believe he deserves.

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