Dead Poets/Poet’s Play/Prince Charles – Poetry News Round-up -January 29th

In our first news round-up of the week, we bring you the news that the founder of the US
Dead Poet’s Society has died, we look at the stage play based on the life story of William Topaz McGonagall, and finally, we have a short new story about Prince Charles’s Burns Night poetry recitation.

Dead Poets Society Founder Passes Away

Just a short while ago we brought you a story about Walter Skold, who founded the US Dead Poets Society who had commissioned his tombstone. He had decided it was time as he was now older than many of the poets whose graves he had visited.

Today we bring you the sad news that Walter Skold died suddenly on 20th January, he was 57. He, sadly, died after a heart attack in Elkins Park. Last month he had commissioned his headstone which is to be have a quill and a dancing skeleton at the top and paid the deposit; however, the artist he commissioned to complete the work was not expecting to be working on it so soon.

During his lifetime Skold had managed to visit at least 627 graves of dead poets; he made sure to pour a little cognac onto each tombstone, copying a ritual started by the person who used to visit the grave of Edgar Allan Poe every year and toast his birthday with a glass of the same beverage.

Life Story of “Worst Poet in the History of English Language” to Take to the Stage

For nearly 25 years William Topaz McGonagall, a Dundee weaver, tried desperately to make a career for himself as a poet – unfortunately, things didn’t quite turn out as he had hoped, and he was lampooned almost everywhere. However, the man who has become known as the most dreadful poet in the history of the English language will finally have the last laugh as his life story takes centre stage.

Gary McNair, the theatre-maker who has won several awards, will be taking a few steps in the shoes of the failed poet as part of
The tragi-comedy will take a look at if it is actually okay to have a laugh at someone’s efforts when they have rather obvious failings. In honour of McGonagall, McNair has written his script in
He discovered the works of the poet when a friend suggested he might enjoy them; at the time he had been researching bad stand-up shows for a show he was putting together called
His friend told him if he loved bad stand-up he would love the works of McGonagall.

The tour is set to tour around Scotland during March and April, with visits planned to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee

Prince Charles Poetry Recital

It is rare for Prince Charles to speak out in public, but on Burns Night Clarence House released a clip of the Prince reading “My Heart’s in the Highlands” by Robert Burns, and the public loved it.

The clip was quick to garner much public interest with many people commenting on the dulcet tone of the prince’s voice, with some even suggesting he should make an audiobook.

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