Some quotes from The Guardian’s obituary for Rosemary Tonks (1928 – 2014) via ayjay.tumblr.com.
The poet Rosemary Tonks, who has died aged 85, famously “disappeared” in the 1970s. The author of two poetry collections and six published 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.
Living for the next four decades as the reclusive Mrs Lightband in an anonymous-looking old house tucked away behind Bournemouth seafront, she cut herself off from her former life, refusing to see relatives, old friends, or publishers like me who hoped she might change her mind and allow her poetry to be reissued. As far as the literary world was concerned, she “evaporated into air like the Cheshire cat”, as Brian Patten put it in a BBC Lost Voices half-hour feature, The Poet Who Vanished
, broadcast on Radio 4 in 2009.
Moving into the Bournemouth house in 1980, she completed the obliteration of the person she had been, consigning an unpublished novel to the garden incinerator…
From The Sofas, Fogs and Cinemas via:
On my bad days (and I’m being broken
At this very moment) I speak of my ambitions…and he
Becomes intensely gloomy, with the look of something jugged,
Morose, sour, mouldering away, with lockjaw….
I grow coarser: and more modern (I, who am driven mad
By my ideas; who go nowhere;
Who dare not leave my front door, lest an idea…)
All right. I admit everything, everything!
Oh yes, the opera (Ah, but the cinema)
He particularly enjoys it, enjoys it horribly, when someone’s ill
At the last minute; and they specially fly in
A new, gigantic, Dutch soprano. He wants to help her
With her arias. Old goat! Blasphemer!
He wants to help her with her arias!
No, I… go to the cinema,
I particularly like it when the fog is thick, the street
Is like a hole in an old coat, and the light is brown as laudanum…
Some links: one, two, three, four.
Photo: “Rosemary Tonks in the 1960s…Photograph: Jane Bown”