I, cloud : staging atmospheric imaginaries in anthropocene lyric

Sledmere, Maria (2021) I, cloud : staging atmospheric imaginaries in anthropocene lyric. Moveable Type, 13 (1). 5. (https://doi.org/10.14324/111.1755-4527.117)

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In Mary Ruefle's poem 'Among the Clouds', an era of ubiquitous cloudiness passes over, sweeping the world's citizens into a pregnant intensity of 'mood' and memory, externalised as a profusion of cloud. The poem begins with looking back — 'That was the summer' — and ends, too, with recollection: 'the familiar cry of that summer comes back to me [...] O Mother, O Father, wherefore art thou? I cannot see to find thee among so many clouds'. The poem itself remains 'Among the Clouds': a middling, thick, dislocated space of unspecified gathering and drift between times. Cloud writing is a material poetics in which language itself becomes atmosphere, and lyric subjectivity is dispersed in a way that foregrounds ecological entanglements, questioning our assumptions about presence, identity and agency. Crucially it asks, what atmosphere is capable of sustaining its own excess, and how are atmospheres established as shared, in common?