In Search of the World's Worst Writers


| December 21, 2001


In Search of the World's Worst Writers

Author Nick Page might not realize it, but he has done readers an enormous service. His book In Search of the World's Worst Writers sifts through 'mounds of undeserving crap' that deserve memorialization for its awfulness, notes Joe Lockard in Bad Subjects.

Page avoids listing living authors, mainly for fear that he 'would suddenly become eligible.' Instead, he lists 19th century writers such as James Grainger and his epic poem of plantation agriculture, 'The Sugar Cane.' What is interesting about 'The Sugar Cane,' Lockard says, is not just how many stanzas Grainger could crank out on crop fertilization, but how he saw sugar in terms of a product and not the human degradation of the slave trade. For that, Grainger's work stands as a monument of racist blindness in literature.

The book also offers a warning against taking too seriously the standard advice to write about what you know, says Lockard. Poet Solyman Brown, a dental surgeon who wrote a 54-page poem called 'The Dentologia - A Poem on Diseases of the Teeth,' is a prime example. Another is James McIntyre, a Canadian poet who penned this ode to cheese:
'To us it is a glorious theme
To sing of milk and curds and cream,
Were it collected it could float
On its bosom, a small boat...'
--Kate Garsombke
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