In Search of the World’s Worst Writers

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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