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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