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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

The Disappearance of Rosemary Tonks

By: Jones Irwin

All that daring and they killed her

Exchanging her self-ironising contempt for their disdain

A harlot in an open dressing gown incapable of shame

But who decided that? I see her

Extra modest in her wedding dress

At the Jardin de Luxembourg in Paris

In a cross-legged photo with a friend in 1948, Mrs Trent

Like some saint whose only blasphemy

Is beauty and poise beyond her contemporaries

She was incriminated by her verse

And what it revealed of her unconscious

A woman too, of course,

Fancy that.


Jones Irwin is Associate Professor in Philosophy and Education at Dublin City University, Republic of Ireland. He has published widely in philosophy and aesthetics and his forthcoming book is on existential themes as they have emerged during the pandemic. He has published fiction and poetry across a wide variety of journals including most recently Poetry London, Plainsongs, Critical Read, The Dewdrop and The Festival Review.

"The poem 'The Disappearance of Rosemary Tonks' plays on the ambiguity of a female poet being 'disappeared' by an archly male audience of poets and critics in the 1960s, as well as her own chosen self-disappearance and renunciation of her poetic work in the 1970s. Much as her literary hero Arthur Rimbaud, Tonks appears both inspired and subsequently revulsed by her extraordinary muse although the poem also grapples with the destructive impact of a disdainful audience who 'incriminate' this brave yet vulnerable female artist."


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