Homepage for the poet Stevie Smith (1902 - 1971)
Stevie Smith (1902 to 1971)
Stevie Smith's poems are serious and playful, devastating and bracing, childlike and sophisticated; they celebrate life and death, love and anger, fables and truth. Her semi autobiographical, Novel on Yellow Paper, was an instant success in the 1930's and she became popular again in the 60's for her readings on the radio and on stage.
Although some critics have considered her to be 'lightweight', notable writers and critics have appreciated her work: Sylvia Plath confessed herself to be a Smith addict, and wrote that Stevie was one of the poets who were 'possessed by their rhythms as by the rhythms of their own breathing. Their finest poems seem born all-of-a piece, not put together by hand.' Calvin Bedient, (Professor of English at California University, Los Angeles) in his book Eight Contemporary Poets (OUP 1974) wrote: 'She could touch any subject and give it truth. Bold and queer mixture of vivacity and honesty that she was, author of numerous poems of wit, force, and unexpectedness'.
Picture printed by kind permission of the executors of the estate of James McGibbon. This picture, or any part of it, may not be downloaded, reprinted, or reproduced in any other form without the permission of the Estate of James McGibbon who may be contacted a firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Payne, in a review of The Collected Poems & Drawings of Stevie Smith in the Daily Telegraph of 24 October 2015, writes that 'Stevie Smith's accessible, quietly learned poems speak directly to the modern age' and suggests that this volume 'is waiting for readers who feel they are drifting far out'. As 'drifting far out' appears to me to be part of the human condition (though some people prefer to think it doesn't apply to them) this book is waiting for all readers who are willing to admit to being human.
In the pages listed below I follow Stevie Smith as she drifts far out. Though I quote from some of her work this site is best read with a copy of The Collected Poems & Drawings of Stevie Smith, edited and with an introduction by Will May, published by Faber and Faber as a hardback and e book in October 2015, or, as second best, a copy of Stevie Smith, Collected Poems published in 1975 which can be found in second hand bookshops. The Selected Poems of Stevie Smith, available in paperback or as an e book comes a poor third as its selection is limited and the poems and drawings are cramped.
The links to the pages are in no particular order.
Stevie Smith Biography - a short account of Stevie's life and work.
Stevie Smith's Suburb - Palmers Green, North London and how it features in Stevie's work
Stevie Smith’s Connections - an exploration of Stevie’s connections to her contemporary writers, with a quick look at Stevie's possible influence on today's poets.
Childe Rolandine - this poem is considered together with Robert Browning’s famous poem 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.'
'The Jungle Husband' - this dark poem about a jungle is explored.
The Frog Prince - a dive into a deceptively simple poem with hidden depths.
Stevie's religious poems are explored in the light of the religious ideas of the time and the relevance of her poems today is considered
Stevie Smith Festival at Palmer’s Green - an account of a memorable poetry reading in the streets of Palmers Green to celebrate the centenary of Stevie Smith’s birth, with thoughts on the poems which were read.
An Evening with Stevie Smith An account of an reading of Stevie's poems held in the Cardiff University Centre for Lifelong Learning.
Stevie and music - musical adaptations of Stevie's work
A Turn Outside A radio play by Stevie Smith adapted and set to music by the composer Simon Rowland-Jones
Stevie's Blue plaque: an account of the unveiling of a blue plaque at Stevie Smith's house in Palmers Green, London, on 16th September 2005 by the Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion.
Remembering Stevie at Torquay - where her ashes were scattered
Stevie Smith links to other sites which feature her work including a blog about Stevie Smith by Noreen Masud at
I aim to expand the site with more pages on Stevie’s work. Any comments, suggestions, criticism, feedback? Send me an E mail
If you want to quote from my work for essays or course work you are welcome to do so as long as you attribute the work to Anne Bryan and this web site. Stevie Smith's work may not be downloaded, reprinted, or reproduced in any other form without the permission of the Estate of James MacGibbon who may be contacted a email@example.com
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