Although Willam McGonagall was branded "the world's worst" by his own publisher (and on the cover of one of his collections of poetry), the poet himself was convinced of his genius and ranked himself alongside Shakespeare, says an article in The Age.
His most famous poem was The Tay Bridge Disaster, about the tragic collapse of a railway bridge in 1879. (A website now celebrates his work and you can sign up for the "gem of the day" to be sent to you by e-mail!)
McGonagall did indeed have his fans who celebrate the anniversay of his birthday with poetry recitals and suppers. And there is now is a move to have McGonagall recognised as one of the great Scottish writers with a suitable memorial. The Saltire Society (which fosters Scottish culture including literature) has vetoed the proposal for a memorial to the poet at the Writers Museum in Edinburgh, which honours the likes of Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Sir Walter Scott has turned down the request. "
His work appeals to people because it gives them a sense of superiority. This is mockery rather than appreciation. So-called fans are in fact cruel because they make fun of McGonagall's ineptitude," said Paul Scott, vice-convenor of the society.And there is no statue of McGonagall in his home town of Edinburgh, nor his adopted city of Dundee.