I first met Rosemary Tonks at the Group poetry meetings held in the 1970s at Edward Lucie-Smith's Chelsea house. She immediately gave the impression of a coiled spring waiting and needing to be unsprung. Surrounded by the voices of conventional wisdom, she manifested the loner's stare into, and the need to speak of, the indescribable future before it was too late. As she wrote in one of her poems included in her first book Notes on Cafes and Bedrooms:
I knew the poet's rag-soft eyelid was
the gutter's fee
For the way down to life. I had
My lodgings in that quarter of the city
Like a cat's ear full of cankered
Where November wraps the loiterer as
spiders do their joints.