Monday, September 24, 2007

William McGonagall - Response from the Saltire Society

Time for Statue Fundraising

Dear Mr Campbell,

You wrote to the Saltire Society recently taking us to task for opposing
the erection of a statue to William McGonagall.

This is not correct since we have made no comment on such a proposal. In
fact if the people of Dundee were to so honour this famous son of the city
we would not complain for a minute.

What we did object to was the inclusion of McGonagall in the Edinburgh
MAKARS COURT, Scotland's Poet's Corner, which was established to honour
Scotland's literary figures and clearly, as you would no doubt
acknowledge, Magonagal was not one of them. His verse is read and enjoyed
not because of its literary merit, its skilled use of rhyme, rhythm, metre
or imagery or the profound nature of his observations but because it is so
bad and he was the only person who did not see that it was bad! We are,
I'm afraid, laughing at him rather than with him. I have a copy of his
Poetic Gems here and none of the poems is comic verse. It is all very
serious stuff about disasters of various kinds. Yet we laugh from cover
to cover.

This has nothing to do with class or snobbery. Some of Scotland's most
brilliant works are from the pens of men and women from backgrounds quite
as humble as McGonagall. It is to do with poetic genius and whatever else
he was William was no genius. Enjoy his work by all means (I certainly do)
but don't let us elevate him into something that he wasn't no matter how
much he believed that he was.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Scott


Sean Jeating said...

Ceterum censeo:

It's a shame
that criticaster
would dare to blame
such genial master
who earns fame
for all his words.

It really hurts.


Colin Campbell said...

Perhaps there is a career for you yet McSeanagall.

Your words are touching.
Your prose worthy of the man himself.

Onwards until our dream is realised and the man is rightfully recognised.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Spoilsports! They ought to be glad his work is read. Poor Willie!

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