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The Cloud That Contained the Lightning (National Poetry)

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The Cloud That Contained the Lightning (National Poetry) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Using the character of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb,” as a jumpingoff point, The Cloud That Contained the Lightning explores the kinds of ethical choices we face as individuals and as a society with respect to the innovations and inventions we pursue. How are our fears, obsessions, prejudices, and cultures manifested in the ways we apply new technologies, such as the splitting of the atom? What were the attitudes that resulted in such a destructive invention? What prompted it to be used on a nation suspected to already be defeated?

By weaving together the voices of Oppenheimer, his wife and brother, hibakusha (Japanese for “explosion-affected people”), and the mythological figures of Cronos and his children, Lowen creates a dialogue out of a vacuum of communication and imagines the kind of exchanges that might have led to a different outcome than the tragedies at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And in an exploration of our tendency for selective amnesia, this collection asks a critical question: How quickly will the forgotten lessons of the past allow us to repeat the tragic chapters of our history?

Review:

"This debut, a National Poetry Series selection, channels the voice of J. Robert Oppenheimer, 'father of the atomic bomb.' Lowen imagines war-ravaged Japan, which resembles a kind of cancer: 'white heads of cauliflower/ blooming from the cavity,/ tissue aggregating tissue,/ tumors of white fire against the black/ negative.' Broken into five sections, the poems follow Oppenheimer's work on the atom bomb, from its testing in New Mexico, codenamed 'Trinity,' to the measured discussion of 'The Target Committee.' Lowen's poems are expertly crafted and chiseled to a brittle, often stinging essence. Recurring throughout the book, the haunting voices of the children of Cronos who 'devoured his own brood/ saying, This is to protect you/ from becoming like me' offer eerie wisdom. 'Hibakusha,' the title of several of these poems, is a Japanese word that literally means 'explosion-affected people.' Reading this book against the contemporary backdrop of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster and worries about weapons of mass destruction falling into the wrong hands gives the poems a deep resonance. Lowen's last 'Hibakusha' poem, written in the voice of a girl, recalls, 'I loved that dress, and now I wear it on my skin/ forever.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Cynthia Lowen has an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She was selected for inclusion in Best New Poets 2008 and is a recipient of the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize and a winner of the “Discovery”/ Boston Review Poetry Contest. She served as a screenwriter and producer of the 2011 documentary Bully.

Table of Contents

acknowledgments xiii

Oppenheimer Maps His Coordinates 1

Fission

  Atom 5

  Parable of the Children 6

  Oppenheimer Wears New Mexico as Camouflage 7

  Tea with the Wives Club 8

  Oppenheimer Admires the Prints of Hokusai 10

  Oppenheimer Plays Risk Wearing a Blindfold 11

  Proposition 12

Trinity

  The Scientific Method 15

  Every Mother Says Her Child Is Special 16

  Parable of the Children 17

  Bedding Down 19

  Risk/Benefit 20

  And So What If We Blow Up the Atmosphere? 21

  Theories of Relativity 22

  Why Does Daddy Wear Sunglasses at Night? 23

  And Our Tracks Turned to Glass in the Desert 24

  Morning after Trinity; or, Oppenheimer Wakes and

     Remembers the Woman of His Dreams 25

  Oppenheimer on the Couch 26

Match in One Hand

  Oppenheimer at the Natural History Museum 29

  Notes from the Target Committee: I. Tokyo 30

  Oppenheimer Finds a Message in a Bottle 31

  Notes from the Target Committee: II. Kyoto 32

  Oppenheimer Sends a Message in a Bottle 33

  Where Can You Hide a Think like That? 34

  Notes from the Target Committee: III. Hiroshima 35

  Hibakusha 36

  Quantum Mechanics 38

  Notes from the Target Committee: IV. Nagasaki 39

  What’s War Got to Do with It? 41

  Parable of the Children 42

The Art of Surrender

  The Wizard of Oz 45

  Oppenheimer Studies the Art of Surrender 46

  Hibakusha 47

  Principles of Uncertainty 48

  The Geology of Brotherly Love 49

  Building a House for the Boat 51

  Oppenheimer Gets Caught in a Blizzard 52

Clean Hands

  Half-Life 57

  Tea Ceremony 58

  Hibakusha 59

  Where Cancers Begin 60

  Parable of the Children 62

  Oppenheimer Finds a Lover; or, Afternoon at the Shore 63

  After the Clouds Pass; or, Meditation on

     the Banks of the Lethe 64

notes 65

Product Details

ISBN:
9780820345642
Author:
Lowen, Cynthia
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Subject:
Single Author / American
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
The National Poetry Series
Publication Date:
20130931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
80
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Human Rights

The Cloud That Contained the Lightning (National Poetry) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.95 In Stock
Product details 80 pages University of Georgia Press - English 9780820345642 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This debut, a National Poetry Series selection, channels the voice of J. Robert Oppenheimer, 'father of the atomic bomb.' Lowen imagines war-ravaged Japan, which resembles a kind of cancer: 'white heads of cauliflower/ blooming from the cavity,/ tissue aggregating tissue,/ tumors of white fire against the black/ negative.' Broken into five sections, the poems follow Oppenheimer's work on the atom bomb, from its testing in New Mexico, codenamed 'Trinity,' to the measured discussion of 'The Target Committee.' Lowen's poems are expertly crafted and chiseled to a brittle, often stinging essence. Recurring throughout the book, the haunting voices of the children of Cronos who 'devoured his own brood/ saying, This is to protect you/ from becoming like me' offer eerie wisdom. 'Hibakusha,' the title of several of these poems, is a Japanese word that literally means 'explosion-affected people.' Reading this book against the contemporary backdrop of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster and worries about weapons of mass destruction falling into the wrong hands gives the poems a deep resonance. Lowen's last 'Hibakusha' poem, written in the voice of a girl, recalls, 'I loved that dress, and now I wear it on my skin/ forever.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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