Dr Anne Elvey lives on Boonwurrung Country in Seaford, Victoria. She is an Adjunct Research Fellow in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University, and an Honorary Research Associate of Trinity College Theological School, University of Divinity. Her scholarly publications include: The Matter of the Text: Material Engagements between Luke and the Five Senses (Sheffield Phoenix, 2011). Her most recent poetry collections are On arrivals of breath (Poetica Christi 2019) and White on White (Cordite Books 2018). She is managing editor of Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics.

Climate embodied

Exploring a poetics of strained breath

This essay focuses on the materiality of breath. Breath is encoded in languages and texts, for example, through the quality of letters/characters, punctuation, citation and space. Breath connects human bodies with their habitats, with air and atmosphere, with ecological exigencies of climate and pollution, and with the entanglements of social and ecological violence. I explore a focus on breath as a way of engaging with the materiality of a poem against a contemporary background where air and atmosphere are strained. In the context of climate change, I offer a reading of three poems by Jill Jones, Natalie Harkin and Susan Hawthorne. I focus on the interlinked materialities of breath and text and the ways a poem might speak into the strained breath of a climate change and pollution affected Earth.

Keywords: climate change; breath; atmosphere; Jill Jones; Natalie Harkin; Susan Hawthorne