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V.R. Lang, A Memorial, Part 2



Poet and playwright V.R. "Bunny" Lang was a contemporary of John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, and Edward Gorey. She is often associated with Cambridge's The Poet's Theater and the New York School of Poets. Decades after her premature death, Charles Ruas and Susan Howe produced a program celebrating Bunny's life and work. Originally recorded in December 1975, this is the second of three segments of the restored program. This segment includes discussions and readings with journalist, Dee Wells and Pulitzer Prize winning poet, James Merrill.

In the recording, Dee Wells claims that Bunny was the era's greatest female poet. Indeed, her fondness and compassion for the late writer is palpable. She recalls her youth and time spent with Bunny; the two of them fashioned themselves as militant women and joined the Canadian Women's Army Corps. They even cut off all of their hair for the want to look the part. Wells goes onto say that Bunny approached life as if she were always on stage. Wells said that even when she fell terribly ill and was under an immense about of discomfort, she endeavored to disguise it. Both Wells and Merrill recall the poet's relationship with her husband, Bradley Phillips. Merrill discusses Bunny's work with Ruas and reads a selection of it, as well.

Massachusetts native, V.R. "Bunny" Lang was a poet, playwright, and actress. She was the founding editor of the Chicago Review and was a pivotal player in the establishment of Cambridge's The Poets' Theater. Bunny was active in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps during WWII and the New York School of Poets, after the war. She is often mentioned in O'Hara's poems. Her work was published widely in periodicals and publications including; V.R. Lang: Poems and Plays, With a Memoir by Alison Lurie (1975). She died of Hodgkin's disease at the age of 32.