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The Miraculous Season

Selected Poems

V.R. 'Bunny' Lang

Edited by Rosa Campbell

Cover of The Miraculous Season by V.R. ‘Bunny’ Lang
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Categories: 20th Century, American, Scottish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Classics
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (232 pages)
(Pub. Feb 2024)
£16.99 £15.29
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(Pub. Feb 2024)
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • A Poetry Book Society Spring Special Commendation 2024

    In the archives of the Houghton Library at Harvard blazes the incandescent work of V.R. 'Bunny' Lang (1924–56), the American poet and playwright whose name has been all but erased from literary history. The fiery nerve centre of the literary scene around mid-century Harvard, and best friend of the iconic New York School poet Frank O'Hara – who referred to her as 'one of our finest poets' – Lang herself has languished in the shadows of American poetry for too long.

    This book brings into print some of Lang's most startling, strange, and beautiful poetry, much of which has never been published before, drawing her into the spotlight at last. It includes an editor's introduction by scholar and writer Rosa Campbell, on Lang's fascinating and often hilariously eccentric life, devastatingly early death, and her rightful place in the canon of twentieth-century American poetry. The Miraculous Season, published in Lang's centenary year, is a revelation of the true breadth and brilliance of her poetry, rediscovered and made available in print for the first time since 1975.
    V.R. 'Bunny' Lang
    V.R. 'Bunny' Lang (1924-1956) was a poet, playwright, actress and director born in Boston, the youngest of six daughters. She was a founding member of the Poets' Theatre in Cambridge, Massachussetts in 1950, where she staged two verse dramas, Fire Exit (1952) and I Too Have Lived in Arcadia (1954), and ... read more
    Rosa Campbell
    Rosa Campbell lives in Edinburgh, and is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of St Andrews, where she also teaches modern and contemporary literature. Her poetry has appeared in various places, including Oxford Poetry, fourteen poems, Perverse, Ambit, Gutter and SPAM . Her first book, ... read more
    Awards won by V.R. 'Bunny' Lang Commended, 2024 A Poetry Book Society Spring Special Commendation
    (The Miraculous Season)
    'Campbell has diligently sifted through the sprawling Lang archive in the Houghton Library at Harvard and discovered many previously unseen gems. Lang's kooky creation of states of unease is typified by the opening poem... Lang is not a bleak or dispiriting poet, and jaunty humour irradiates many of the vignettes collected here.'
    Mark Ford, The London Review of Books
    'Lang's poetry occupies its own domain.'
    John Yau, Hyperallergic
    'These poems crackle with youthful, almost absurd energy, formal skill and snappy wit... The choppiness of the syntax and sharp asides is propulsive.'
    Rachel Mann, The Tablet
    'Poems of darkness and forbode echo through this collection... Bunny Lang brings her own veritas, her own incantations and ringing church bells.'
    Roy McFarlane, The Poetry Society Bulletin
     'This selection is a precious gift to poetry, a real discovery, and consolidation of the reputation of a vital, odd and lively poet, alert to the balancing act of her poems on such fine edge, at the threshold between public and private zones of feeling and display. The poems shine and bristle with routines, tones, intonations, from the breezy and brittle to the entranced and desolate, with something of the power of Stevie Smith's fiction, or Elizabeth Bowen, quite astonishingly various in their quick bond-making, genre-shifting, their dark play at a range of dangerous intimacies: quite a find, quite a long-distance call.'
    Adam Piette, Blackbox Manifold
    'These are young poems by a poet who got to stay young, and shared her youth with poets we know but her youthful playfulness and unswerving fate and unabashed and forceful ear excite me because suddenly I'm on an unknown road in the annals of poetry history. It's a little familiar. It's great. It's like she just walked in. And made the whole story true. We have someone new to talk with and a different history, Bunny Lang just rewrote it.'
    Eileen Myles
    'She is calling us long distance in these poems, telling us how it is with her, how bright things can be, how terrible things are. She was a wonderful person. She is one of our finest poets. We are so lucky to have something of her still!'
    Frank O'Hara
    'These poems, which are not exactly personal, do convey the brilliant personality of V.R. "Bunny" Lang, poet, dramatist, and founding figure of 1950s Boston avant-garde theater. They are dramatic speeches, exclamations, soliloquies, addresses for personae, in a described "setting" and hinting at a story. That is, they are theatrical! They are bitchy, allusive to events off-stage, to a personality, even, that's off-stage. Always alive, still alive (despite an early, tragic death), Lang is perhaps the first woman poet in history to despair of her actual monetary debts. These are tone-of-voice works, totally vocal, startingly rhymed, choppy syntax, spare punctuation, interesting pronouns – Auden's complicit "we," the resented "you," the masklike "I." Something that remains very modern starts here.'
    Alice Notley
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