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Monday, 24 June, 2002, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Tribute to the best bad bard
Silvery Tay - Alan Richardson
McGonagall had a fondness for the Silvery Tay
William Topaz McGonagall, the world's best-known bad poet, is to be honoured by his native city of Dundee.

McGonagall, who gained fame for his mutilation of meter and reckless approach to rhyme, will be remembered in a public art project commissioned by Dundee's City of Discovery Campaign 100 years after his death.

The first verse of one of his most quoted works, The Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay, will be etched into the pavement which runs along the north bank of the river and is close to the bridge.

Mervyn Rolfe, campaign chairman, said McGonagall, who fashioned himself the "Poet Laureate of the Tay Bridge", is one of Dundee's most famous sons.

McGonagall quoted
Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay!
With your numerous arches and pillars in so grand array
And your central girders, which seem to the eye
To be almost towering to the sky.
The greatest wonder of the day,
And a great beautification to the River Tay,
Most beautiful to be seen,
Near by Dundee and the Magdalen Green.

"Love him or loathe him there is no denying the fact that McGonagall was a great character with great passion for poetry and Dundee," he said.

"His appalling use of meter and rhyme and his unshakeable self-belief have endeared him to the hearts of thousands of fans all over the world.

"We hope McGonagall Walk will rekindle public interest and encourage more people to take an active interest in his life and work in this important year."

Famous fans

McGonagall's fame has grown in recent years, with famous names including Billy Connolly and Spike Milligan referring to his work.

In 1999, the campaign and the William Topaz McGonagall Appreciation Societies of Dundee and Edinburgh erected a plaque in the capital's Greyfriars Kirkyard to mark his final resting place in 1999.

William Topaz McGonagall
William McGonagall: International fame

Another plaque has been erected near the place where McGonagall lived for many years in Paton's Lane, Dundee.

Work on the walk will begin in August and it is among a series of projects planned to celebrate the poet's life, with most arranged around the anniversary of his death on the 29th of September.

Mary Ross, McGonagall's great great great grand daughter and a resident of the city, said: "I am sure William would have been delighted to see such a fitting tribute to his work.

"He was very fond of the river and the bridge and although he received little recognition while he was alive it is heartening and timely that something so appropriate is done for this important milestone."

See also:

18 Jun 02 | Wales
10 Jun 02 | UK Education
06 Oct 99 | Scotland
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