Learn about Canadian muse of French poet at grave unveiling in Kensal Green Cemetery

Join the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery on Thursday for the unveiling of a restored grave marking the final resting place of the muse of a 19th century French poet.

Canadian-born Harriet Smyth, who lived from 1838 to 1859, is buried at the cemetery off Harrow Road.

The group is eager to share the story of how a woman from Niagara Falls came to know an aspiring young poet, Stephane Mallarme, in the suburbs of Paris in the late 1850s.

Her premature death inspired two of his earliest works, though they were unpublished in his lifetime and were only rediscovered a generation after his death.

Mallarme went on to become a leading light in the French Symbolism movement.

The group is meeting at the Dissenters’ Chapel, at the eastern end of the cemetery, at 2pm before walking to the grave and then returning to the chapel for refreshments.

The grave has been restored by Declan Walton, a retired UN official, who has published an essay on the two Mallarme poems in a study of the poet.