Wednesday, 29 September 2010

It's Poetry but Not As We Know It

Poor William Topaz McGonagall. On 29th September 1902 he breathed his last, and many people in the world of poetry probably also breathed a sigh of relief. For the last 25 years of his life his prolific yet execrable rhymes and terrible scansion had commemorated terrible tragedies, heroic victories and great anniversaries alike.

But about the man himself little is really known. In fact, the first fifty years of McGonagall's life are, largely a mystery. Was he even Scottish? Now, award-winning author Norman Watson has taken up the challenge of unraveling the truth behind Scotland's other national bard in his brand new biography Poet McGonagall: The Biography of William McGonagall. It's an absorbing and revealing tale of how a one-time Dundee weaver became known by millions for his poetry, derided by most people but popularised by luminaries as diverse as the Goons, Monty Python, Peter Sellers, JK Rowling, Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman.

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