MacDonald, Wilson Pugsley
Wilson Pugsley MacDonald, poet, poetaster, performer (b at Cheapside, Ont 5 May 1880; d at Toronto 8 Apr 1967). MacDonald was a barnstorming versifier with unbending faith in his own greatness. He graduated in 1902 from McMaster, and his first collection of poems, Song of the Prairie Land, appeared in 1916. Many others, which he himself hawked at his "recitals," followed at intervals. Best known are The Miracle Songs of Jesus (1921) and A Flagon of Beauty (1931). It is surprising the extent to which MacDonald was often taken seriously as an artist and equally surprising that genuine poems or hints of them can sometimes be discovered in his collections by those willing to wade through his vapid romanticism and pre-modernist conventions. Some satirical light verse may also stand re-examination.
Wilson MacDonald's Western Tour, edited by Stan Dragland (1976), includes some of the poet's correspondence with his long-suffering publishers. There were once Wilson MacDonald poetry societies in several cities, sustained no doubt by the bombast of MacDonald himself, and at least one such group still survives. The Wilson MacDonald Memorial School Museum in Cheapside is named for him.