William McGonagall Walk
Greyfriars Cemetery, Edinburgh
Edinburgh People’s Festival will be celebrating ‘the worlds worst poet’ William Topaz McGonagall. On May 24 at 6.30pm, we will be walking from his grave in Greyfriars cemetery, and ending up in the Scottish Poetry Library at Crichton’s close.
William, a poet and tragedian of Dundee, has been widely hailed as the writer of the worst poetry in the English language. A self-educated hand loom weaver from Dundee, he discovered his discordant muse in 1877 and embarked upon a 25 year career as a working poet, delighting and appalling audiences across Scotland and beyond.Born and died in Edinburgh, McGonagal is traditionally associated with Dundee where he tried to make his living first as an actor and then as a poet. The legendary debate is whether McGonagal wrote poetry that was bad by accident or design, whatever you think, he is, no-doubt, the undisputed champion of the world at bad poetry.
Our event starts at Greyfriars Kirkyard where local actor and historian Colin Brown will say a few words at the great man’s graveside. Thereafter the party is guided to the nearby Scottish Poetry Library in the company of the Colin Brown who acts as our host in this unque celebration of McGonagall’s contribution to world literature.
Meet Thursday 24th May at 6.30pm in Greyfriars Kirkyard and afterwards at the Scottish Poetry Library in Crichton’s Close [off the Canongate] 7.30pm where tea and Dundee cake will be served as patrons are invited to mimic the poetic style of McGonagall himself.
Last year the People’s Festival inaugurated a McGonagal event marking his place in Edinburgh’s historic arts culture.