Bedouin of the London Evening: Collected Poems

From the publisher:

The “disappearance” of the poet Rosemary Tonks in the 1970s was one of the literary world’s most tantalising mysteries – the subject of a BBC feature in 2009 called The Poet Who Vanished. After publishing two extraordinary poetry collections – and six satirical novels – she turned her back on the literary world after a series of personal tragedies and medical crises which made her question the value of literature and embark on a restless, self-torturing spiritual quest. This involved totally renouncing poetry, and suppressing her own books. Interviewed earlier in 1967, she spoke of her direct literary forebears as Baudelaire and Rimbaud: ‘They were both poets of the modern metropolis as we know it and no one has bothered to learn what there is to be learned from them – The main duty of the poet is to excite – to send the senses reeling.’ Her poetry – published in Notes on Cafes and Bedrooms (1963) and Iliad of Broken Sentences (1967) – is exuberantly sensuous, a hymn to sixties hedonism set amid the bohemian nighttime world of a London reinvented through French poetic influences and sultry Oriental imagery. She was ‘Bedouin of the London evening’ in one poem: ‘I have been young too long, and in a dressing-gown / My private modern life has gone to waste.’ All her published poetry is now available in this edition for the first time in over 40 years, along with a selection of her prose.

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