J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the greatest fantasy authors who ever lived. But he also wrote poetry – including two poems that have just been unearthed after 80 years of obscurity.
The two poems include a Christmas poem and a poem called “The Shadow Man.” The second poem is of particular interest because it seems to be an early version of a poem that would later appear in Tolkien’s 1962 collection The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (Tom Bombadil, fans of The Lord of the Rings will recall, originally popped up in The Fellowship of the Ring).
According to The Guardian, U.S.-based Tolkien scholar Wayne Hammond is the man who first realized that Tolkien’s poems had gone unnoticed. In the course of his research, he found a note from the author mentioning the poems’ publication in “the Abingdon Chronicle.” He traced that publication name to Our Lady’s School in Oxfordshire, England. Hammond contacted Our Lady’s School headteacher Stephen Oliver.
Oliver was unable to find the right copy of the student magazine at first. But, as luck would have it, he soon unearthed a copy by chance when preparing for an alumni event. The school is now planning to display the lost poems in an exhibit focused on the school’s history.
This isn’t the first time that Tolkien’s work has popped up after a long absence; in fact, Tolkien fans were treated to newly discovered material from the author just last year.