Rosemary Tonks ‘not a recluse’ claims Neil Astley

Rosemary Tonks was “far from being a recluse,” said Neil Astley speaking at the launch of the book about the disappeared poet.

He said that myths about Rosemary’s whereabouts during her lost years included suggestions that she was in Cuba or a convent and always very poor.

We now know that she was in Bournemouth with enough money to live comfortably although incognito.

She went out in the town and even cycled. She often visited London although she probably talked to few people when there.

The event was held on Wednesday 29 October at London’s King’s Place below the The Guardian offices. It was hosted by The Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation and called The Disappearing Poet to highlight that Arthur Rimbaud disappeared in 1879 and Rosemary Tonks in 1979.

The foundation was formed following the gift of 8 Royal College Street in Camden where Arthur Rimbaud lived with fellow poet Paul Verlaine in 1872. Four years later Verlaine moved to Bournemouth where he spent 18 months teaching.

Bedouin of the London Evening: collected poems by Rosemary Tonks is published byBloodaxe; £12.

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