12 Jun 2015

Thirty unknown poems by Katherine Mansfield found

From Morning Report, 7:30 am on 12 June 2015
Katherine Mansfield.

Katherine Mansfield. Photo: Archives New Zealand (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A rare discovery of 30 Katherine Mansfield poems in an American library could provide an insight into the least known part of her life.

The century-old poems, found in Chicago's Newberry Library, are likely part of a rejected manuscript.

A world authority on Mansfield from Northampton University, Dr Gerri Kimber, said the find is significant because it dates back to a period of Mansfield's life she was most secretive about.

"So systematically in later life, she destroyed diaries, notebooks, any piece of material that she could lay her hands on that had anything to do with this period. It encompasses the period when she went to Bavaria, gave birth to a still born child then came back to England, we think possibly had another abortion. Was leading quite a hedonistic life and all of these poems date from that time."

She said the poems were publicly accessible in the library since 1999, but no one had realised they were there.