Sunday, December 13, 2009

Al Gore, Poet Laureate of Climate Change (UPDATED WITH VIDEO)

You think I'm snarking with that headline, but I'm just copying the honorific that Vanity Fair gave him in all seriousness. What's that you say? Well, okay, fair point: merely to quote what Vanity Fair says in seriousness, is to be snarky -- kind of like any direct quote of Dubya that involves the phrase "nukyular power."

Here's you an e-mail thread from earlier this week, involving yours truly and a couple of quick-witted co-workers:

From: Pierce, Ken
To: Guidry, Randy; Greer, Chris
Subject: The Poet Laureate of Climate Change

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the one, the only, the incomparable, the red-blooded...AlGore! Whose poetry is, I humbly submit, proof that extraterrestrial life exists, as this is true Vogon poetry if ever I heard true Vogon poetry.

One thin September soon
A floating continent disappears
In midnight sun

Vapors rise as
Fever settles on an acid sea
Neptune's bones dissolve

Snow glides from the mountain
Ice fathers floods for a season
A hard rain comes quickly

Then dirt is parched
Kindling is placed in the forest
For the lightning's celebration

Unknown creatures
Take their leave, unmourned
Horsemen ready their stirrups

Passion seeks heroes and friends
The bell of the city
On the hill is rung

The shepherd cries
The hour of choosing has arrived
Here are your tools

By the way, the Poet Laureate thing is not my gag...Vanity Fair uses it. The “gag” part (in both senses) is that Vanity Fair means it seriously, and goes on at length about Gore’s comic poetic genius. I don’t know which is funnier, the original poem, or the Vanity Fair brown-nosing:


From: Greer, Chris
To: Pierce, Ken; Guidry, Randy
Subject: RE: The Poet Laureate of Climate Change

Ha. And I quote from the article:

“The result is a surprisingly accomplished, nuanced piece of writing. The images Gore conjures in his (untitled) poem turn a neat trick: they are visually specific and emotionally arresting even as they are scientifically accurate.”


From: Pierce, Ken
To: Greer, Chris; Guidry, Randy
Subject: RE: The Poet Laureate of Climate Change

You did read it aloud, right? You can’t truly savor the full delights of any poetry without reading it aloud...but out of consideration for others, you should do it alone. Preferably in a soundproof room.


From: Greer, Chris
To: Pierce, Ken; Guidry, Randy
Subject: RE: The Poet Laureate of Climate Change

No, I am in full panic mode now waiting for the destruction of our planet. Not by global warming, but due to the construction of a space lane bypass...

From: Guidry, Randy
Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 9:27 AM
To: Pierce, Ken; Greer, Chris
Subject: RE: The Poet Laureate of Climate Change

I know some Vogons and Mr. Gore, you are NO Vogon, Sir!

Is that how the poem ends???? It left me wanting more! What are these tools he refers to at the end? I must know! Perhaps our salvation lies in them! I bet Pelosi knows!

UPDATE!!Thanks to Guy Fawkes by way of Ace, we can now bring you a dramatic reading by the Poet Laureate Himself. And thank goodness, because, if I'm 100% honest with you, up until I heard His Goreness demonstrate how the poem is supposed to be read, I, um, frankly didn't think it was that good...

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