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Encyclopedia > Stevie Smith

Stevie Smith was a British poet and radio personality (September 20, 1902 - March 7, 1971). Poets are authors of poems, or of other forms of poetry such as dramatic verse. ... September 20 is the 263rd day of the year (264th in leap years). ... 1902 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... March 7 is the 66th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (67th in Leap years). ... 1971 (MCMLXXI) is a common year starting on Friday (click for link to calendar). ...


Life

Born Florence Margaret Smith in Kingston upon Hull, the second daughter of Ethel and Charles Smith, she was christened Florence Margaret, but always called Peggy by the family. She acquired the name Stevie as a young woman when she was riding in the park with a friend who said that she reminded him of the jockey, Steve Donaghue. When three years old she moved with her mother and sister to Palmers Green, London, after her father left home. His business as a shipping agent, which he inherited from his father, was failing and so was his marriage and he ran away to sea, becoming a ship’s purser. Stevie saw very little of her father, he appeared seldom and sent very brief postcards, e.g. ‘Off to Valparaiso Love Daddy’. She resented the fact that he had abandoned his family. Hull or Kingston upon Hull is a British city situated on the north bank of the Humber estuary. ... Part of the London skyline viewed from the South Bank London is the most populous city in the European Union, with an estimated population on 1 January 2005 of 7,421,328 and a metropolitan area population of between 12 and 14 million. ...


Later when her mother became ill her aunt Lion came to live with them. When Stevie was five she developed tuberculous peritonitis and was sent to a sanatorium near Broadstairs, where she remained off and on for several years. She related that her preoccupation with death began when she was seven, at a time when she was very distressed at being sent away from her mother. Death fascinated her and is the subject of many of her poems. She was educated at Palmers Green High School and North London Collegiate for Girls. She spent the remainder of her life with her aunt and worked as private secretary to Sir Neville Pearson with Sir George Newnes at Newnes Publishing Company in London from 1923 to 1953. She died of a brain tumor on March 7, 1971. After Smith's death, her last collection, Scorpion and other Poems was published posthumously in 1972, and the Collected Poems in 1975 Three novels were republished, and there was a successful play based on her life, Stevie, written by Hugh Whitemore. It was filmed in 1978 by Robert Enders and starred Glenda Jackson and Mona Washbourne. She never married. Sir George Newnes (1851-1910) was a publisher and editor in Britain. ... Glenda Jackson Glenda May Jackson, CBE, (born May 9, 1936) is a British Oscar-winning actress and politician, currently Labour Member of Parliament for the constituency of Hampstead and Highgate in the London Borough of Camden. ...


Career

She wrote three novels, the first of which, A Novel on Yellow Paper, was published in 1936. All her novels are lightly fictionalised accounts of her own life, which got her into trouble at times as people recognised themselves. Stevie said that two of the male characters in her last book are different aspects of George Orwell, who was close to Smith; there were even rumors that they were lovers. He was married to his first wife at the time. She also wrote nine volumes of poetry. Her first volume was A Good Time Was Had By All. It was this that established her as a poet, and soon her poems were found in periodicals. Her style was rather dark; her characters were perpetually saying goodbye to their friends or welcoming death. "Stevie Smith often uses the word 'peculiar' and it is the best word to describe her effects" - Hermione Lee. Her best known poem is the autobiographical "Not Waving but Drowning" which explores the fundamental isolation of the poet from her audience via the medium of a misapprehension relating to a swimmer dying at sea. She was awarded the Cholmondeley Award for Poets in 1966 and won the Queen's Gold Medal for poetry in 1969. George Orwell, on the cover of a 2005 biography by Gordon Bowker Eric Arthur Blair (June 25, 1903–January 21, 1950), better known by the pen name George Orwell, was a British author and journalist. ... Hermione Lee (born 1948) is a critic and biographer. ... Not Waving but Drowning is one of the finest poems by Stevie Smith. ...


Õδ==Bibliography==


Fiction


Novel on Yellow Paper (Cape, 1936)

  • Over the frontier (Cape 1938)
  • The Holiday (Chapman and Hall, 1949)

Poetry

  • A Good Time Was Had By All (Cape, 1937)
  • Tender Only To One (Cape, 1938)
  • Mother, What Is Man? (Cape, 1942)
  • Harold's Leap (Cape, 1950)
  • Not Waving But Drowning (Deutsch, 1957)
  • Some Are More Human Than Others: A Sketch-Book (Gabberbocchus, 1958)
  • Selected Poems (Longmans, 1962) includes 17 previously unpublished poems
  • The Frog Prince (Longmans, 1969) includes 69 previously unpublished poems
  • Two In One (Longmans, 1971) reprint of Selected Poems and The Frog Prince
  • Scorpion and Other Poems (Longmans, 1972)
  • Collected Poems (Allen Lane, 1975)
  • Selected Poems (Penguin, 1978)

External Links

  • Document source: McFarlin Library, University of Tulsa
  • Stevie Smith reading "Not Waving But Drowing"
  • British Library page for Stevie Smith
  • Essay on Stevie Smith’s I Do Not Speak
  • Smith's Fan Club webpage

  Results from FactBites:
 
Stevie Smith - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1324 words)
Stevie Smith (September 20, 1902–March 7, 1971) was a British poet and novelist.
When Stevie was five she developed tuberculous peritonitis and was sent to a sanatorium near Broadstairs, Kent, where she remained off and on for several years.
Stevie said that two of the male characters in her last book are different aspects of George Orwell, who was close to Smith (there were even rumours that they were lovers; he was married to his first wife at the time).
Stevie Smith (386 words)
Born Florence Margaret Smith in Hull, Yorkshire[?], she moved when three years old with her mother and sister to Palmers Green, London.
"Stevie Smith often uses the word 'peculiar' and it is the best word to describe her effects" - Hermione Lee[?].
After Smith's death, her collected poems and three novels were republished and there was a successful play based on her life, Stevie, written by Hugh Whitemore[?].
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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