Bees Do BotherAnn Vickery
Bees Do Bother: An Antagonist's Carepack takes its cue from Leonardo da Vinci’s observation that the bee does not simply collect and use but digests and transforms. It considers firstly, how our understanding of social interactions might borrow from those of the more-than human and secondly, that we need to reconceptualise existence as closely connected to the more-than-human. As Maurice Maeterlinck noted as far back as 1901, “If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” As its title suggests, the collection plays upon the dual meaning of bothering as an act of care as much as an act of disturbance. The central question driving Bees Do Bother is: how might we creatively draw together these strands of care and activism? Taking a specifically feminist approach, the poetry collection considers how experiences of intimacy and labour have been shaped by cultural hierarchies and divisions around gender, race, capital, and nation. It explores how poetry might highlight existing social and ecological vulnerability and unsettle prescribed roles. In imaginatively teasing out and beginning the work of transforming relations, how might poetry lead to more sustainable forms of belonging and solidarity?
'Bees Do Bother is a remarkable and complex lyric invention, funny, fierce, simmering and spectral. Its shifting tectonics of syntax and reference are unflinching, often satiric yet rooted in deep principled concerns. In this powerful multivocal collection, readers will find themselves rethinking what it is to be human. What might bees and the non-human tell us, not just metaphorically but materially, about ourselves, our ways of organising work and relationships, our communities, and our vulnerabilities and complicities. With brilliance and intensity as well as tenderness, Ann Vickery reorients our gaze to ask how can we deal more ethically with our shaky knowledges, our often-shirked responsibilities and our perilous future that is already here.' Jill Jones.