Terraform: Building a Better World

Propaganda. HarperOne, $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-303624-6

“What if we thought about our cultural climate in the same way we consider the actual climate,” asks poet and activist Propaganda in his candid if meandering debut. Blending essays and poetry, Propaganda highlights the power of storytelling: “Tell Better Origin Stories” considers the violent, racist narratives upon which America was built, and urges readers to create new tales of beauty and survival. “Remember the Quiet” spotlights the importance of fostering personal peace in an information-saturated world, while “Imagine a Better Future” mixes poems about oppression with essays on creating “a world suitable for human flourishing.” Exercise prompts round out each section and include such instructions as “write a love poem to your neighborhood,” “do a land acknowledgement,” or “pay attention to your rituals.” When Propaganda considers tech, though, things get less convincing (he poses, for example, that if trees provided Wi-Fi we might treat them better), and those averse to winding narratives might not connect with the meditative nature of his musings. Still, many climate-minded readers will appreciate the mix of compassion, creativity, and hope. Agent: Alex Field, the Bindery Agency. (June)