Great to listen to Radio 4’s Rosemary Tonks: the Poet who Vanished over lunchtime today (from today, there are still nine days left to listen to it). I first read a Tonks poem, ‘Sofas, Fogs, and Cinemas’ in The Firebox anthology from 1998 and really liked it.
The story of her disappearance from public life after two collections in the sixties (46 poems in total) has fascinated me ever since. It’s almost inconceivable that any public figure could disappear quite so completely today, I think. The radio show, as well as broadcasting several poems (she was really posh, which I hadn’t realised, although obviously less prim, more bohemian), does actually contain a few grains of information about her current situation. Perhaps it’s better just to be content with the poems she’s published than speculate on what’s going on with her, although the poems are not exactly easy to track down.
Speaking of tracking things down, I have managed to get hold of Michael Hofmann’s first collection, ‘Nights in the Iron Hotel’. If you check on Amazon, it will set you back around £20 for one of those, often far more, so I’m very pleased to have found a copy. The Selected Hofmann begins with ‘White Noise’ and I was taken aback to see that it doesn’t appear in the original book until page 21.