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Amid the Clouds and Mist
China’s Colonization of Guizhou, 1200–1700
John E. Herman
Harvard University Press, 2007
In 1200, what is now southwest China—Guizhou, Yunnan, and the southern portion of Sichuan—was home to an assortment of strikingly diverse cultures and ruled by a multitude of political entities. By 1750, China’s military, political, sociocultural, and economic institutions were firmly in control of the region, and many of the area’s cultures were rapidly becoming extinct. One purpose of this book is to examine how China’s three late imperial dynasties—the Yuan, Ming, and Qing—conquered, colonized, and assumed control of the southwest. Another objective is to highlight the indigenous response to China’s colonization of the southwest, particularly that of the Nasu Yi people of western Guizhou and eastern Yunnan, the only group to leave an extensive written record.

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Aristophanes' Clouds
A Commentary
S. Douglas Olson
University of Michigan Press, 2021

This is the first substantial commentary on Clouds since Dover’s 1968 edition. Intended for intermediate Greek students at undergraduate and graduate levels, the commentary pays careful attention to the basic characteristics of ancient Greek syntax, as well as to how Greek words are formed and can be analyzed.  It offers robust staging notes, information about daily life in late 5th-century Athens, and constant reference to the rhetorical and dramatic strategies of the text. Full support is offered for those interested in the metrical structure of the songs, but in a way that allows instructors to leave such issues aside, should they choose to do so. The first and second appendices offer a basic means of entry into the rich but complex world of the comic fragments. An English-language bibliography is provided. The edition will interest professional classicists of all sorts seeking an accessible introduction to one of Aristophanes’ greatest plays, to philosophers concerned with Socrates and the sophistic movement, and to theater professionals who wish to stage the play.


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Billboard in the Clouds
Suzanne S. Rancourt
Northwestern University Press, 2003

In this remarkable debut book of poems, winner of the Native Writers First Book Award, Suzanne S. Rancourt, presents her experience as a mixed-raced person seeking understanding through relationship with the natural world and dominant culture. Her family portraits are reminiscent of E. A. Robinson; her sensuous nature poems are imbued with love of earth as a "blessing."


my legs are explosions
of lustful wind
i converse through cracks in the walls
slipping in my true intention like a snow drift
on the inside
side of a door i pound
your chest
has become my wailing wall
i crave your tongue dusted
with words and implications
i have something you need


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Nature and Culture
Richard Hamblyn
Reaktion Books, 2017
Clouds have been objects of delight and fascination throughout human history, their fleeting magnificence and endless variety having inspired scientists and daydreamers alike. Described by Aristophanes as “the patron goddesses of idle men,” clouds and the ever-changing patterns they create have long symbolized the restlessness and unpredictability of nature, and yet they are also the source of life-giving rains. In this book, Richard Hamblyn examines clouds in their cultural, historic, and scientific contexts, exploring their prevalence in our skies as well as in our literature, art, and music.
As Hamblyn shows, clouds function not only as a crucial means of circulating water around the globe but also as a finely tuned thermostat regulating the planet’s temperature. He discusses the many different kinds of clouds, from high, scattered cirrus clouds to the plump thought-bubbles of cumulus clouds, even exploring man-made clouds and clouds on other planets. He also shows how clouds have featured as meaningful symbols in human culture, whether as ominous portents of coming calamities or as ethereal figures giving shape to the heavens, whether in Wordsworth’s poetry or today’s tech speak. Comprehensive yet compact, cogent and beautifully illustrated, this is the ultimate guidebook to those shapeshifters of the sky.

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A History of Clouds
99 Meditations
Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Seagull Books, 2010

In these 99 meditations, poet and novelist Hans Magnus Enzensberger celebrates the tenacity of the normal and routine in everyday life, where the survival of the objects we use without thinking—a pair of scissors, perhaps—is both a small, human victory and a quiet reminder of our own ephemeral nature. He sets his quotidian reflections against a broad historical and political backdrop: the cold war and its accompanying atomic threat; the German student revolt; would-be socialism in Cuba, China, and Africa; and World War II as experienced by the youthful poet.

            Enzensberger’s poems are conversational, skeptical, and serene; they culminate in the extended set of observations that gives the collection its title. Clouds, alien and yet symbols of human life, are for Enzensberger at once a central metaphor of the Western poetic tradition and “the most fleeting of all masterpieces.” “Cloud archaeology,” writes Enzensberger, is “a science for angels.”


Praise for the German edition

“After reading this wonderful volume of poetry one would like to call Enzensberger simply the lyric voice of transience.”— Sueddeutsche Zeitung

            “With this book Enzensberger reveals himself both as a spokesman of persistence and as a decelerator.”—Neue Zuercher Zeitung


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In Clouds of Glory
American Airmen Who Flew with the British during the Great War
James J. Hudson
University of Arkansas Press, 1999
Of the several hundred Americans who joined the Royal Air Force during the First World War, twenty-eight became aces by shooting down five or more aircraft. Unfortunately, those American aces who flew only with the British are little known by the American public. In Clouds of Glory tells the story of these fliers in the first air war, young men who risked their lives and citizenship to help the British fight off the German squadrons. An exhaustively researched study, In Clouds of Glory restores these American heroes to the place in history they had so bravely earned.

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Lightning through the Clouds
?Izz al-Din al-Qassam and the Making of the Modern Middle East
By Mark Sanagan
University of Texas Press, 2020

Lightning through the Clouds is the first English-language life-and-times biography of ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam, a preeminent figure who helped to reshape the political and religious landscape of the region. A Syrian-born, Egyptian-educated cleric, he went from the battlefields of World War I to join the anticolonialist fight against the French in Syria. Sentenced to be executed by the French military, he managed to escape to Palestine, where he became an increasingly popular presence, moved by the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. Outraged by British rule and the encroachment of Zionism, he formed a secret society to resist the colonization of Palestine first by the British and then by Jewish immigrants from Europe, once again taking up arms and advocating for a moral, political, and military jihad as the only solution. His death at the hands of Palestine Police in 1935 drew thousands to his funeral and sparked the 1936–1939 Arab Revolt.

His influence continues to be felt in the region; for example, the military wing of the Palestinian Hamas organization is named the ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Al-Qassam is either revered or reviled, depending on the observers’ perspective, but he is without doubt a fascinating and historically significant individual whose influence on the past, and our present, makes this examination of his life both important and timely.


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Mexico’s Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán
From Deserts to Clouds
David Yetman and Alberto Búrquez
University of Arizona Press, 2023
Mexico’s Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán: From Deserts to Clouds provides an accessible and photographic view of the culture, history, and environment of an extraordinary region of southern Mexico. The Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán are lauded by botanists for their spectacular plant life—they contain the densest columnar cacti forests in the world. Recent archaeological excavations reveal them also to be a formative Mesoamerican site as well. So singular is this region that it is home to the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Through firsthand experience and engaging prose, the authors provide a synthesis of the geology, ecology, history, and cultures of the valleys, showing their importance and influence as Mesoamerican arteries for environmental and cultural interchange through Mexico. It also reveals the extraordinary plant life that draws from habitats ranging from deserts to tropical forests.

The authors, both experts in their respective fields, begin with a general description of the geography of the valleys, followed by an introduction to climate and hydrology, a look at the valleys’ often bewildering geology. The book delves into cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the valleys and discusses archaeological sites that that encapsulate the valleys’ fascinating history prior to the arrival of Europeans. The book concludes by describing the flora that makes the region so singular.

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Mining among the Clouds
The Mosquito Range and the Origins of Colorado's Silver Boom
Harvey N. Gardiner
University Press of Colorado, 2002
In Mining Among the Clouds, Harvey N. Gardiner examines what one reporter dubbed "aerial" mining - silver mining at such high altitudes that the miners were literally working among the clouds. In the summer of 1871, two prospectors ventured high up Mount Bross in Colorado's Mosquito Range. There they discovered an outcropping of silver ore in blue limestone. An unprecedented find, it set off strike after strike in Park County. Thus began the silver boom that gave rise to Leadville, laying the foundation for Colorado's Silver Decade.

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An Observer's Guide to Clouds and Weather
A Northeastern Primer on Prediction
Toby Carlson, Paul Knight, and Celia Wyckoff
American Meteorological Society, 2014
Today, most people look down when they want to check the weather, peeking at cell phones or popping open a browser, instead of looking up at one of the most accessible weather predictors of all—the sky. Knowing what the atmosphere has in store without relying on technology can be a gratifying experience, and now with An Observer’s Guide to Clouds and Weather, it is also one that is easy to learn.

This informative and accessible guide walks readers through the basics of making weather predictions through understanding cloud types and sky formations. It explains, in nontechnical terms, the science behind the weather, connecting fundamental meteorological concepts with the processes that shape weather patterns. Readers will learn how to develop their powers of observation and hone their ability to make quick forecasts without complicated tools. Whether you're an amateur weather enthusiast or a beginning meteorology student, An Observer’s Guide to Clouds and Weather will help anyone who prefers looking up to looking it up.

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Our House in the Clouds
Building a Second Life in the Andes of Ecuador
By Judy Blankenship
University of Texas Press, 2013

While many baby boomers are downsizing to a simpler retirement lifestyle, photographer and writer Judy Blankenship and her husband Michael Jenkins took a more challenging leap in deciding to build a house on the side of a mountain in southern Ecuador. They now live half the year in Cañar, an indigenous community they came to know in the early nineties when Blankenship taught photography there. They are the only extranjeros (outsiders) in this homely, chilly town at 10,100 feet, where every afternoon a spectacular mass of clouds rolls up from the river valley below and envelopes the town.

In this absorbing memoir, Blankenship tells the interwoven stories of building their house in the clouds and strengthening their ties to the community. Although she and Michael had spent considerable time in Cañar before deciding to move there, they still had much to learn about local customs as they navigated the process of building a house with traditional materials using a local architect and craftspeople. Likewise, fulfilling their obligations as neighbors in a community based on reciprocity presented its own challenges and rewards. Blankenship writes vividly of the rituals of births, baptisms, marriages, festival days, and deaths that counterpoint her and Michael’s solitary pursuits of reading, writing, listening to opera, playing chess, and cooking. Their story will appeal to anyone contemplating a second life, as well as those seeking a deeper understanding of daily life in the developing world.


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Piercing the Clouds
Lectio Divina and the Preparation for Ministry
Kevin Zilverberg
Saint Paul Seminary Press, 2021
This book’s six essays pertain to the “piercing of the clouds,” or the experience of heavenly mysteries, which characterizes lectio divina practiced well. Moreover, these peer-reviewed essays give special attention to the practice of lectio divina during preparation for ministry, especially the ministry of Catholic priests. That being said, any current or prospective Bible-reader may profit from this book; most of its content applies to Catholic seminarians and literate Christians alike. Here follow brief descriptions of each chapter. Laurence Kriegshauser, OSB, begins the book with a chapter on the Western monastic tradition of lectio divina and seminary formation, including an historical survey of lectio divina, a description of its characteristics, and reflections on its practice in seminaries. Michael Magee reflects upon the implications of exegetical method for lectio divina, with a comparison and critique of three commentaries’ treatments of John 6. Konrad Schaefer, OSB, advocates for fostering growth and formation through lectio divina, beginning his chapter with a description of its theological underpinnings and then taking up some practical considerations for students. Marcin Kowalski focuses on meditatio of lectio divina following upon exegesis-informed lectio, with an examination of Romans 7:7–25 as a test case. Daniel Keating examines oratio and contemplatio (and actio) of lectio divina, giving attention to theologians from twelfth-century Carthusian Prior Guigo II to Pope Benedict XVI. Anthony Giambrone, OP, contributes the final essay, on searching the Scriptures and the mystery of preaching. For him, exquisitio (intellectual engagement) leads to supplicatio (prayerful supplication), which culminates in praedicatio (preaching).

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Rescuers of Skydivers Search Among the Clouds
A Novel
Patrick Lawler
University of Alabama Press, 2012
Winner of the 2013 CNY Book Award for Fiction. 

When you step inside Patrick Lawler’s Rescuers of Skydivers Search Among the Clouds, you will find yourself hovering in the clouds, among a family and a town, and in the world of one of fiction’s most inventive writers.
Patrick Lawler’s novel is about resonance, echoes, and naming; about hiding inside of names; about standing completely still; and about the fractalization of family. Connect the dots. Connect the secrets. Mother. Father. Sisters. Brother. Every character wears a variety of masks, and every place is also someplace else.
Rescuers of Skydivers Search Among the Clouds is a reconfiguring of narrative—how stories exist inside stories, how place exists inside self, how self exists inside others, and how parachutists exist inside clouds.

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A Rift in the Clouds
Race and the Southern Federal Judiciary, 1900-1910
Brent J. Aucoin
University of Arkansas Press, 2007
A Rift in the Clouds chronicles the efforts of three white southern federal judges to protect the civil rights of African Americans at the beginning of the twentieth century, when few in the American legal community were willing to do so. Jacob Treiber of Arkansas, Emory Speer of Georgia, and Thomas Goode Jones of Alabama challenged the Supreme Court's reading of the Reconstruction amendments that were passed in an attempt to make disfranchised and exploited African Americans equal citizens of the United States. These unpopular white southerners, two of whom who had served in the Confederate Army and had themselves helped to bring Reconstruction to an end in their states, asserted that the amendments not only established black equality, but authorized the government to protect blacks. Although their rulings won few immediate gains for blacks and were overturned by the Supreme Court, their legal arguments would be resurrected, and meet with greater success, over half a century later during the civil rights movement.

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The Road to El Cielo
Mexico's Forest in the Clouds
By Fred and Marie S. Webster
University of Texas Press, 2002

Hidden high in the Sierra de Guatemala mountain range of northeastern Mexico in the state of Tamaulipas is the northernmost tropical cloud forest of the Western Hemisphere. Within its humid oak-sweetgum woodlands, tropical and temperate species of plants and animals mingle in rare diversity, creating a mecca for birders and other naturalists.

Fred and Marie Webster first visited Rancho del Cielo, cloud forest home of Canadian immigrant Frank Harrison, in 1964, drawn by the opportunity to see such exotic birds as tinamous, trogons, motmots, and woodcreepers only 500 miles from their Austin, Texas, home. In this book, they recount their many adventures as researchers and tour leaders from their base at Rancho del Cielo, interweaving their reminiscences with a history of the region and of the struggle by friends from both sides of the border to have some 360,000 acres of the mountain declared an area protected from exploitation—El Cielo Biosphere Reserve. Their firsthand reporting, enlivened with vivid tales of the people, land, and birds of El Cielo, adds an engagingly personal chapter to the story of conservation in Mexico.


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Shadows and Clouds
Marcus Stewart
Omnidawn, 2023
Stories that question our experience of time, truth, and memory.
Through the stories in Shadows and Clouds, Marcus Stewart invites us to consider how things are not always as they appear or as we remember them, instead locating reality in the imagination and the dream world. While animals understand the world without words, humans create our experiences as stories, translating past and future into tales told in the present. Stewart's stories take the notion of storytelling and expand to a consideration of how truth, misremembering, logic, lying, and uncertainty play together to affect our experience of reality. In an alternate reading of time, Stewart poses the suggestion that you may already have a future memory of reading this book, and reading the stories backward may bring us back to the present.

Shadows and Clouds is the winner of the 2021 Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Chapbook / Novelette Contest, chosen by Theodora Ziolkowski.

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Walking the Clouds
An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction
Edited by Grace L. Dillon
University of Arizona Press, 2012

In this first-ever anthology of Indigenous science fiction Grace Dillon collects some of the finest examples of the craft with contributions by Native American, First Nations, Aboriginal Australian, and New Zealand Maori authors. The collection includes seminal authors such as Gerald Vizenor, historically important contributions often categorized as "magical realism" by authors like Leslie Marmon Silko and Sherman Alexie, and authors more recognizable to science fiction fans like William Sanders and Stephen Graham Jones. Dillon's engaging introduction situates the pieces in the larger context of science fiction and its conventions.

Organized by sub-genre, the book starts with Native slipstream, stories infused with time travel, alternate realities and alternative history like Vizenor's "Custer on the Slipstream." Next up are stories about contact with other beings featuring, among others, an excerpt from Gerry William's The Black Ship. Dillon includes stories that highlight Indigenous science like a piece from Archie Weller's Land of the Golden Clouds, asserting that one of the roles of Native science fiction is to disentangle that science from notions of "primitive" knowledge and myth. The fourth section calls out stories of apocalypse like William Sanders' "When This World Is All on Fire" and a piece from Zainab Amadahy's The Moons of Palmares. The anthology closes with examples of biskaabiiyang, or "returning to ourselves," bringing together stories like Eden Robinson's "Terminal Avenue" and a piece from Robert Sullivan's Star Waka.

An essential book for readers and students of both Native literature and science fiction, Walking the Clouds is an invaluable collection. It brings together not only great examples of Native science fiction from an internationally-known cast of authors, but Dillon's insightful scholarship sheds new light on the traditions of imagining an Indigenous future.



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