The Cloud That Contained the Lightning: Poems


Product Details

$20.95  $19.48
University of Georgia Press
Publish Date
5.4 X 0.3 X 8.4 inches | 0.2 pounds
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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."


In The Cloud That Contained the Lightning the unstable walls of the human heart meet the intimate walls of atomic energy. There is decay. There is bloom. Cynthia Lowen skillfully and fiercely tunnels into the world and mind of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, observes, magically imagines, and then maps forward a critical American life. The historical dust of what intimately did and did not happen in 1945 settles alphabetically on us all. With sensual probing and stark probability Lowen and The Cloud That Contained the Lightning resurrect the questions that human beings will forever face and only clear lovely poetry can answer: What can we see from where we stand? Whose fingers clutch the ropes that could always drop the curtain? We need this graceful work.

--Nikky Finney "author of Head Off & Split "

Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, was a pivotal and tragic figure in twentieth-century American life. No biographer in six hundred pages has come closer to understanding him--and the bomb--than does Cynthia Lowen in these subtle, resonant poems.

--Richard Rhodes "Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb "

Tough minded, mordant, and oracular, many poems in this book speak through the persona of J. Robert Oppenheimer--but as if he were a revenant and had come back to haunt our contemporary world. His comments on our social and political and spiritual arrangements make up a kind of shadow autobiography fraught with dread, nuclear threat, and a sense of the absurd. Zbigniew Herbert's Mr. Cogito has found his American counterpart.

--Tom Sleigh "author of Army Cats "