RIC S. BASTASA


World's worst poetry sold for $12,840


now, mine shall sell at
$15,000 per line.

EDINBURGH, Scotland – The vocabulary is poor and the rhyme excruciating but a collector paid $12,840 Friday for original works by William Topaz McGonagall, internationally celebrated as the worst poet ever to assault the English language.

Up for auction was a collection of 35 poems McGonagall self-published in the 1890s, in which he rambles about everything from a theatre fire and the life of Robert Burns to women's suffrage and Britain's imperial wars. Bad as it was, it did not reach the top estimate of $15,600 at the sale, conducted by Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull.

Still, McGonagall's work outstripped a collection of rare and inscribed Harry Potter books by Edinburgh resident J.K. Rowling, which fetched $12,000 at the same sale.

McGonagall's lack of talent was matched only by his delusion and ego. Along with the 35 poems were a portfolio of posters and two copies of his rather short autobiography – 'dedicated to himself, knowing none greater.'

Submitted: Saturday, May 17, 2008

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