From the archives | November 2021

For this month’s archival newsletter series, I was prompted by TCR’s fall issue theme “weather” to consider where we locate the climate, both at its most apparent and its most inconspicuous. I searched through TCR’s archives, using several weather-related keywords to find examples of how writers deal with the weather in their works. In “Before my book on New York, I was a painter,” Cecily Nicholson reflects on William Klein’s “3 Black Kids and a Harmonica,” commenting on what focus makes visible and invisible, and other potentialities in the black-and-white photograph. Lary Timewell’s “offshore” draws from the author’s firsthand experience of the tsunami that hit Fukushima Prefecture, Japan in 2011 referring to the weather as “my nearest neighbour.” Rain is important for Coral Hull in “Road Conditions When It Was Flooding At Brewarrina,” where she remembers extreme weather from her childhood. Finally, Betsy Warland’s “Cloudnotes” uses clouds and tidal formations to consider how love and other emotions are embodied and enacted.

—Jastej Luddu

Read excerpts from all four pieces below.

William Klein, 3 Black Kids and Harmonica, 1955 gelatin silver print, 24.8 x 32.4 cm

Cecily Nicholson

from “Before my book on New York, I was a painter”
from Issue 3.29 (Summer 2016): Eye to Eye

3 Black Kids and a Harmonica feels familiar to me – the fearless, wide-eyed, indifferent expressions; everyday plurality at a glance. Multiple subjects, brothers somehow, The sharpest focus lights the youngest cheek, the fur-telling weather, the hand of the harmonica player, the player’s foot, their young knees, and the side-eye taking in passerby.

Lary Timewell

from “offshore”
from Issue 3.16 (Winter 2012): Ecologies

The ghosts were torn from the buildings; the apparatus of moonlight unlocked… here in Niigata my nearest neighbor is the weather. The mountain appears a particle deluge, the train constructed amorously of retinal seraphs.

Coral Hull

from “Road Conditions When It Was Flooding At Brewarrina”
from Issue 2.25 (1998)

this rain will affect unsealed roads, whereas the river’s flooding will cut
through the bitumen,
will create flood affected roads, will intersect and isolate,
worried mothers, stranded sunlight in the window glass of stranded

Betsy Warland

from “Cloudnotes”
from Issue 2.16 (1995)

on a silver band
raven and eagles are beak to beak

sky surrounds them

altocumulus, stratocumulus,
cumulonimbus with virga
and praeciptatio reaching the ground

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