May 19, 2015
Meary James Thurairajah Tambimuttu
Meary James Thurairajah Tambimuttu [b. Ceylon, now Sri Lanka/England]
Born in Ceylon in 1915, Meary James Thurairajah Tambimuttu (called by his friends, Tambi) attended school in Colombo before leaving for London in 1938. Only a year later, he became publisher of Poetry London, a magazine that during the next decade was to become one of the most important publishers of British poetry during World War II.
Tambi became close friends with Lawrence Durrell through the latter’s Paris magazine, Delta, and was involved with nearly all the major poets living in Britain, including Dylan Thomas and T. S. Eliot. Tambimuttu’s press published a list that is said to represent a “veritable ‘who’s-who’ of modernist poetry. Notable works include Elizabeth Smart’s By Grand Central Statation I Sat Down and Wept, David Gascoyne’s Poems 1937-1942, Durrell’s Cefalu, Henry Miller’s Cosmological Eye and Sunday After the War, Vladmimir Nabokov’s The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, Cleanth Brooks’ Modern Poetry and the Tradition, and Nicholas Moore’s The Glass Tower.
Tambimuttu also wrote poetry, first in Tamil, books that have been lost, and in English, two volumes Out of This War (1941) and Natarajah: A Poems for Mr. T. S. Eliot’s Sixtieth Birthday (1948).
He later edited Lyrebird Press and, in the United States, edited Poetry London – New York. His extensive archives exist in many collections, but most notably at Northwestern University and at the British Library.
BOOKS OF POETRY
Out of This War (London: The Fortune Press, 1941); Natarajah: A Poem for Mr. T. S. Eliot’s Sixtieth
Birthday (London: PL Editions, 1948)