“Here’s to you, for making purple a sports car and sharing
the map to let us go roaring into our dawn.”
Bunny Girls, by Angela Readman, is a collection of poetry exploring eclectic facets of being a girl and then young woman. It is insightful, at times funny and dark. It offers a reminder that much of what seems so important at the time is often a blip in the macrocosm of which one is a small part.
Snippets from childhood feature frequently, reminding how this period shapes what a girl will become. There are: games with dolls that explore burgeoning sexuality; unwanted kisses; religious rituals in which children are required to partake without understanding.
Pica provides a wonderful evocation of how it feels to watch others play while never being invited to join in.
Bunny Girls features a girl experimenting with provocative dressing, its impact on others. An older man’s reaction leaves a disturbing aftertaste.
Peat offers a realisation of an individual’s transience and what matters, through the medium of weddings, or their lack.
There is an underlying violence in many of the relationships, with peers and family.
“A playground is a concrete boardgame without instructions.”
Developing sexuality is a recurring theme, how girls naturally wish to explore, then find themselves objectified.
When the Body Refuses to be a Temple was one of my favourite poems in the collection, skilfully portraying how a person perceives themselves over time, how each change comes fraught with difficulty.
“Look out tonight, through the blackhole
of mouths sucking the lights out of the house,
telling you, telling you why you’re no good.”
At times there is dissociation in observations. Many poems inspire a renewed desire to notice what is happening beyond personal issues. Flora and fauna continue to change with the seasons whatever one is going through.
Hush provides beautiful imagery, putting into perspective a marital argument.
Bringing Back the Day is inventively moving on the importance of taking in the beauty of surroundings for future reminiscences.
Loss is explored – how a simple sight or sound can unexpectedly trigger a memory. There is vividness in how what may usually be overlooked is then viewed after an absence.
I was tickled by the idea of dusting a husband when his participation in a relationship grows akin to a long sleep.
“Whenever I miss hearing
someone whisper my name, I fling
the windows wide open and let everything in.”
A varied and memorable collection from a skilled poet whose work is well worth seeking and consuming. While there is much to ponder in each succinct and arresting poem herein, their obvious intelligence is never a barrier to gratifying reading.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Nine Arches Press.