The Bunny Poems

The Bunny Poems

4.62 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
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The Bunny Poems give us a 'localised sensation' of twentieth-century rural existence. They re-connect us with the land as a deep, mirroring presence; the double-edged properties of plants; creature-sense; and the animal face each human carries. At the same time, the poems are an acute acknowledgement of absence; in speech, understanding and relationship.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 80 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 4mm | 113g
  • Exeter, United Kingdom
  • English
  • First
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1848611951
  • 9781848611955
  • 2,593,559

About David Caddy

David Caddy is a poet and critic from the Blackmore Vale in north Dorset. He was educated as a literary sociologist at the University of Essex. He founded and organised the East Street Poets, the UK's largest rural poetry group from 1985 to 2001. He directed the legendary Wessex Poetry Festival from 1995 to 2001, and later the Tears in the Fence festival from 2003 to 2005. He has edited the independent and eclectic literary magazine, Tears in the Fence, since 1984. He co-wrote a literary companion to London in 2006, has written and edited drama scripts and podcasts, and regularly contributes essays, articles and reviews to books and journals.
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Rating details

8 ratings
4.62 out of 5 stars
5 62% (5)
4 38% (3)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)

Our customer reviews

This is an accomplished and inventive collection with poems that are both stark and lyrical, experimental but built on tradition, depressingly grim yet written with vision and joy. The setting of these poems is rural yet not pastoral. This is a community in erosion - words like damaged, estranged, alienated, disposed, dislocated come to mind but the main impression, the mood of the collection, is that of a gradual whittling down of speech, histories, customs, relationships and hope. This is described in 'No Burning Cottages' where there is 'a gradual absence, with their world/of signs and recognition dispersed/like husks.' Many of the poet's experiences are rooted in his own childhood. 'We ate incessantly,' he says, 'like broilers' and continues 'We ate in silence. Instead of emotion,/pigs and dogs one knew and fed./...An absence of fruit, reading matter.' Terse, unadorned facts that describe an environment as bleak as the syntax in some poems. These are the opening lines of 'Natural Facts' - the poem that opens the collection: 'Gypsy kids skin stags leaving guts/outside Frampton House for all to see./Poaching pools clutch knives/slit throats make a heap of heads.' Brutal images such as these fill many of the pages; we are in the world of farmyard stink, the blood, the danger, the brutality of it all. In 'From the Farm' the protagonist 'carries an animal's face on him./Light emanates from its enormous/eyes and nose. He cannot let go./He is from the farm and the farm/has not let him go.' A world of paucity; a community that is growing inarticulate, losing the energy of anger, the need for protest and change. The author feels the need for more: 'There should be something/to keep this hurt from filling my gut' (The Orchard and Herb Garden) He looks for hope in the miniature and insignificant: 'the flight of a single bullfinch/that lands on a gutter to look and listen' or 'a stranger's bright scarf' (From Small Things) The poet in him goes out of the door with the wood smoke and catches 'the cold and blackbird song/that spoke with clouds and light/ Stripped to the bone, gaps, white stones/to pore and drift within and without' (Yes) It is difficult to single out individual poems for comment but two should be mentioned for their special significance. 'From the Farm', an earlier poem, led on to the 'Willy' sequence in the author's collection 'The Willy Poems' (Clamp Down Press 2004) while 'No Burning Cottages' gives the reader the historical time scale as well as indicating the socio-historical context from the Captain Swing riots onwards. This is important background for the reader before we are introduced to the title's protagonist, Bunny, and his experiences with loss, the regaining of his words and his attempts to recover identity. There are many, many things I enjoy in this collection - the naming of people, places and things 'marking each loci/with attributes, speech parts, things/to be recalled as and when', the poet's delight in lists and the sounds of words as in 'Botanologia', the shock and horror that comes from reading poems like 'A Severed Head', the stunning use of language in 'This Giddy Bevil' (my own favourite poem) with its description of 'Shrew's nest left of terminus/three feet south south-west/and two feet left of outer ring/by footpath, other rodent prints,/next to barbed wire fence...impinge, smudge, mix/ lure, stir in this shaft,/in this giddy bevel.' Most of all though, I love the poet's sense of a cause, a reaching towards an alternative, a small vision: ' I have been looking at the flood plane,/ the loss of path, bank and margin,/ wondering where the swans retreat,/ seeing the landscape without glare/as a string of posts and diluted scum ... and keep returning to an obsession/with reinforcing the brook's bank/removing debris, seeing if I can restore/the stone steps, count the otters downstream/and gauge the fish population.' (On Focus) The poet is hopeful that there is 'still have time to take back /the bacon or re-consider the fate of those/unaware it is night' (when the Redstart Arrives) When poets assemble a collection of their poetry they choose their first and last poems with special care. David Caddy's 'Bunny Poems' begin brutally with blood and guts and a skinned stag but they end, lyrically and most beautifully, with this verse from 'Song Thrush': 'Our wild back garden despised, sniggered at, and thus anointed by sound and edges of light in the broader frame of modernity makes us melt in physical delight and burst out.'show more
by Mandy Pannett
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