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‘Monster in the sky’: hibakusha poetry and the nuclear sublime

Miller, Alyson and Atherton, Cassandra 2017, ‘Monster in the sky’: hibakusha poetry and the nuclear sublime, TEXT: journal of writing and writing programs, vol. 41, no. Special Issue: Romanticism and Contemporary Australian Writing: Legacies and Resistances, pp. 1-12.

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Title ‘Monster in the sky’: hibakusha poetry and the nuclear sublime
Author(s) Miller, Alyson
Atherton, Cassandra
Journal name TEXT: journal of writing and writing programs
Volume number 41
Issue number Special Issue: Romanticism and Contemporary Australian Writing: Legacies and Resistances
Start page 1
End page 12
Total pages 12
Publisher Australasian Association of Writing Programs
Place of publication Nathan, Qld.
Publication date 2017-10-31
ISSN 1327-9556
Keyword(s) creative writing
hibakusha poets
atomic bomb poetry
nuclear sublime
Summary This paper analyses hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor) poetry as examples of the nuclear sublime, which Rob Wilson argues is ‘one of the unimaginable, trans-material grounds of a global condition that, paradoxically, can and must be re- imagined, represented, and invoked to prevent this trauma of negativity from happening in post-Cold War history’ (1989: 1). We argue that of all atomic bomb literature, poetry best captures the devastation of atomic warfare and a message of hope for the future because of its emphasis on the economy of expression and, as Robert Jay Lifton argues, its ‘symbolic transformation’ (1991: 21). The ineffability of experience, explored in the Burkean Romantic Sublime, will be discussed as persisting into the politics of the twentieth century and impacting on definitions of the nuclear sublime. While hibakusha continue to be discriminated against – compounded recently by the ongoing catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex – the nuclear sublime compels them to record their experiences in testimony, literature or poetry or to risk a ‘forgetting’ that may lead to the annihilation of the human race. This paper argues that poetry – specifically tanka and haiku – best captures the nuclear sublime.
Language eng
Field of Research 200524 Comparative Literature Studies
1904 Performing Arts And Creative Writing
Socio Economic Objective 950203 Languages and Literature
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©[2017, Australasian Association of Writing Programs]
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30103892

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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