Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Best Living British Poets #95

#95 Malcolm McRammie

Malcolm McRammie is, in his own words, “a plook in the face of everyone everywhere”. Born in 1952, in a disused rabbit warren next to a rubbish dump where his family of twelve lived for years before emigrating to a cave, McRammie learned to read from a battered recipe book he found on the dump.

At the famous Edinburgh Poetry Convocation of 1973, he made his famous declaration that “Poems are spaghetti, prose is sauce,” to which the chairperson replied, “And yours are inedible.” A conviction and jail term for aggravated assault followed, but this only encouraged McRammie’s literary productivity. His Collected Poems vol.1 (1997) came to an astonishing 2,368 pages, and he has since written 3,457 pages of poems inspired by discarded ingredients found in Scotland’s wheelie-bins.

In 2010 he boasted proudly that, despite his status as Scotland’s best-selling author, he had failed even to be shortlisted for a poetry award, only to find himself in the running for all the major prizes that year. “They must think I’m about to die,” was his response. “This is the first year ever that I haven’t actually published a collection.” No one seemed bothered by this and McRammie won more or less everything. He ritually burned all the plaques and trophies at a hastily arranged news conference on the peak of Ben Lomond, but kept all the money.

[photo from sheeldz's photostream, used under a CReative Commons License]

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