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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Al Gore's Poetry

Al Gore’s latest book has just hit the bookshops. Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis is a lavishly illustrated handbook for climate-change activism. "Our Choice gathers in one place all of the most effective solutions that are available now and that, together, will solve this crisis," he says in the introduction. "It is meant to depoliticize the issue as much as possible and inspire readers to take action—not only on an individual basis but as participants in the political processes by which every country, and the world as a whole, makes the choice that now confronts us."

There is even a "young reader edition" for bedtime reading, with all the complex diagrams and mathematical analysis in An Inconvenient Truth condensed into memorable slogans for tender minds.

Ever since losing the 2000 election, Mr Gore has showed that he is many things: not just a politician, but a showman to shame P.T. Barnum, a businessman, a film producer, and a Nobel Prize winner. Now, it seems, he is vying to become the poet laureate of climate change. The introduction features this 21-line poem, or seven terse haikus strung together on a thread of fearful prognistication. Mark Hertsgaard, writing in Vanity Fair, praised it as "beautiful, evocative, and disturbing". The last adjective is right – the metre and metaphors certainly are disturbing for anyone who appreciates poetry. It's as if Helen Steiner Rice had tried to put the Book of Revelations into verse.

Read more here.

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