Australia's richest pens 'worst poem'

Feb 17, 2012, 10:03 IST | Agencies

Gina Rinehart, a mining magnate, has been ridiculed for writing an anti-government poem that rhymes 'rampant tax' with 'political hacks'

Gina Rinehart, a mining magnate, has been ridiculed for writing an anti-government poem that rhymes 'rampant tax' with 'political hacks'

A Perth-based creative writing expert slammed Gina Rinehart's attempts at poetry and suggests she checks her punctuation and grammar before setting her prose in stone again.

Stick to the day job: A creative writing lecturer asked Gina Rinehart to
get her grammar and punctuation right before becoming a poet. File pic

The poem penned by the mining magnate is titled 'Our Future' and takes a swipe at the Australian Government for not supporting the resource industry and 'unleashing rampant tax'.

The poem has been engraved on a plaque fixed to a 30-tonne iron ore boulder as part of a new outdoor artwork in the billionaire's home state of Western Australia. 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 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 a 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."

A creative writing lecturer at the University of Western Australia, Professor Dennis Haskell, praised 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 said.

"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 Rinehart should consider sticking to her day job. "She won't make as much money out of poetry, that's for sure," he said.

Our Future
Excerpts from the poem:
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

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