Today’s poetry news round up takes a look at a Raymond Chandler poem and the sale of Byron’s London mansion.
Poem by Raymond Chandler With a Surprising Twist
A newly published rare poem that was written by Raymond Chandler as an ode to his late wife contains a rather surprising plot twist.
The wife of Raymond Chandler died in 1954 following a long battle with a disease of the lungs. Her death sent the crime writer into a downwards spiral of suicidal depression, which he never truly recovered from. He turned to drinking heavily and died just 5 years later.
Following her death, he didn’t complete any significant books, but he did create an unpublished work, a book of poetry, a medium for which he had not previously been known. The book was penned in the year that followed the death of his wife and Requiem, a 27 line poem is the grieving Chandler’s tribute to his wife. The opening lines of the poem have the distinct aura of a crime scene and offer the final glimpse of the victim.
The poem was unearthed in a shoe box at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford by the editor-in-chief of the Strand Magazine. It will be appearing in the winter edition of the magazine which has previously published rare work by the likes of Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner and John Steinbeck.
Chandler is most well known for his classic novels which include “The Big Sleep” and “The Long Goodbye” although he did release some poems at the beginning of his career which were not well received. Requiem, on the other hand, has been praised as a heartfelt outpouring, a mature poem and a legitimate piece that sits well amongst Chandler’s other works.
Chandler was almost 20 years his wife’s junior. They met just before World War I and corresponded whilst Chandler served overseas. They separated briefly in the mid 1930s but reconciled and in the later part of their marriage Chandler devoted much of his time to looking after his ill wife.
The surprising twist at the end of the poem is that the poem refers to the letters that the couple exchanged during their marriage with the lines:
However, it is believed that Chandler destroyed the letters before his own death.
Piccadilly Mansion of Lord Byron Goes on the Market for £29.5million
The Piccadilly mansion where the poet Lord Byron once lived and where he penned some of his most famous work has been placed up for sale with a price tag of £29.5million.
The building is a grade-II listed townhouse with 6 floors and 14,000 square feet; it overlooks Mayfair’s Green Park.
Byron lived in the house from 1815 for roughly a year. He fled the country shortly after a scandal and rumours of a relationship with his half-sister caused his wife to leave the house with their infant daughter.
The home was later owned by the Baron and Baroness d’Erlanger, with the latter hosting readings in the drawing room attended by notable figures of the day, including WB Yeats.