Born in Malaya to rubber planter John Forrest Thomson and his wife Jean (Veronica hyphenated the surname herself, having originally published under the name Veronica Forrest), she grew up in Glasgow, Scotland. She studied at the Universities of Liverpool and Cambridge, and later taught at the Universities of Leicester and Birmingham. Her critical study Poetic Artifice: A Theory of Twentieth-Century Poetry was published by Manchester University Press in 1978. Her poetry collections included Identi-kit (1967), the award-winning Language-Games (1971) and the posthumous On the Periphery (1976). Subsequent gatherings of her work include Collected Poems and Translations (1990) and Selected Poems (1999). A further Collected Poems, minus the translations, was published in 2008 by Shearsman Books in association with Allardyce Book.