William McGonagall – Collected Poems

  Showcasing items from our online bookstore.

As today is the 110th   anniversary of the death of the near-legendary Scottish poet William McGonagall,  we take the opportunity of pointing you towards –





AUTHOR-          William McGonagall

PUBLISHED-     Birlinn, Edinburgh. 1992

FORMAT-          Pb, 558pp

CONDITION-     Used. Some wear around the spine and cover.
Otherwise good, sound & clean condition.


“The most startling incident in my life was the time I discovered myself to be a poet, which was in the year 1877”


William  McGonagall (March 1825 – 29 September 1902) was a Scottish weaver, doggerel poet and actor. He won notoriety as an extremely bad poet who exhibited no recognition of or concern for his peers’ opinions of his work.

He wrote some 200 poems, including the infamous “Tay Bridge Disaster”, which are widely regarded as some of the worst in British history. Groups throughout Scotland engaged him to make recitations from his works; contemporary descriptions of these performances indicate that many of these listeners were appreciating McGonagall’s skill as a comic music hall character, and as such his readings may be considered a form of performance art.

The chief criticisms of his poetry are that he is deaf to poetic metaphor and unable to scan correctly. In the hands of lesser artists, this might generate merely dull, uninspiring verse. McGonagall’s fame stems from the humorous effects these shortcomings generate.

The inappropriate rhythms, weak vocabulary, and ill-advised imagery combine to make his work amongst the most spontaneously amusing comic poetry in the English language. His work is in a long tradition of verses written and published about great events and tragedies, and widely circulated among the local population as handbills. In an age before radio and television, their voice was one way of communicating important news to an avid public.

This omnibus volume brings together his three famous collections –
•    Poetic Gems
•    More Poetic Gems
•    Last Poetic Gems

and includes all the valuable autobiographical material which appeared in the original volumes.

This book is available for purchase at a very reasonable price. You’ll need to sign up for an account with our store’s host, eBid (works basically the same as eBay, and you can use your PayPal account just the same).

Will mail worldwide.

William McGonagall –   Collected Poems page.  

Wolfs Head Bookstore front page.

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