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