Australia's richest person pens 'universe's worst poem'
Published 16/02/2012 | 11:22
AUSTRALIA’S richest person, the mining magnate Gina Rinehart, has been ridiculed for penning an anti-government poem that rhymes "rampant tax" with "political hacks" and pleads for "special economic zones".
The poem, a sort of ode to mining titled "Our Future", has been engraved on a plaque fixed to a 30-ton iron ore boulder as part of a new outdoor artwork in the billionaire's home state of Western Australia. Ms Rinehart proposed that the boulder be installed as a monument to iron ore.
The poem, which consists of eight rhyming couplets, proclaims the benefits of the resources industry and lampoons the government.
But its aesthetic quality has come under question, with one critic describing it on Wikipedia as "the universe's worst poem, although many still dispute if it qualifies to be classified as poetry".
An Australian poet and satirist, Geoff Lemon, said Ms Rinehart had achieved "almost functional iambic heptameter" but that the poem soon went off the rails.
"[It] attempts a noble challenge: the rendering of economic theory and politico-economic ideology into stirring verse," he said on the Crikey website. "Some call it impossible to include phrases such as 'special economic zones' in a fluid and aesthetically pleasing poem. Those people are right. But Rinehart doesn't let that stop her."
Ms Rinehart, an heiress who has converted her father's mining assets into an empire with an estimated value of $AUS20 billion (£13.6 billion), says in the poem that unthinking people "have been conned/To think prosperity is created by waving a magic wand."
A creative writing lecturer at the University of Western Australia, Professor Dennis Haskell, praised Ms Rinehart for effort but noted her use of grammar and punctuation – particularly full stops – was poor.
"As a poet she's about as good as I am at mining," he told ABC radio.
"It's not written with artistic merit in mind. It's a polemical poem and we do have a tradition of those in Western Australia and I think good on her for having a go."
He predicted that Ms Rinehart – tipped by Forbes magazine to be on track to become the world's richest woman – should consider sticking to her day job.
"She won't make as much money out of poetry, that's for sure," he said.
The pome in full:
The globe is sadly groaning with debt, poverty and strife
And billions now are pleading to enjoy a better life
Their hope lies with resources buried deep within the earth
And the enterprise and capital which give each project worth
Is our future threatened with massive debts run up by political hacks
Who dig themselves out by unleashing rampant tax
The end result is sending Australian investment, growth and jobs offshore
This type of direction is harmful to our core
Some envious unthinking people have been conned
To think prosperity is created by waving a magic wand
Through such unfortunate ignorance, too much abuse is hurled
Against miners, workers and related industries who strive to build the world
Develop North Australia, embrace multiculturalism and welcome short term foreign workers to our shores
To benefit from the export of our minerals and ores
The world's poor need our resources: do not leave them to their fate
Our nation needs special economic zones and wiser government, before it is too late