Thurs 7 March
Please join us to celebrate the London launch of The Miraculous Season by V.R. 'Bunny' Lang, edited by Rosa Campbell, the Poetry Book Society Special Commendation for Spring 2024.
With readings of Lang’s work by editor Rosa Campbell and admirers Helen Charman and Jess Cotton, the event will also include a short conversation between Rosa and Mae Losasso.
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 (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 Live in Arcadia (1954), and starred in multiple other productions, including the original performance of Frank O'Hara's Try! Try! (1951). Her poetry was widely published in her lifetime, particularly in POETRY, and she was, for a time, editor of the Chicago Review. She died of Hodgkin's disease at the age of thirty-two.
About the speakers:
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, Pothos, a memoir-ish lyric essay about grief and houseplants, was published by Broken Sleep Books in 2021. She tweets as @rosaetc.
Helen Charman is a writer and academic. Her first book, Mother State, is forthcoming from Allen Lane in August 2024. Her poetry was shortlisted for the White Review Poet's Prize in 2017 and for the 2019 Ivan Juritz Prize for Creative Experiment, and she has published four poetry pamphlets, most recently In the Pleasure Dairy (Sad Press). She teaches English at Clare College, Cambridge.
Jess Cotton is an early career researcher at the University of Cambridge and the author of John Ashbery (Reaktion, 2023).
Mae Losasso is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Warwick, where she is working on a research project that explores breathlessness in postwar Anglophone poetics. Her first book, Poetry, Architecture, and the New York School: Something Like a Liveable Space was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2023.