Homepage for the poet Stevie Smith (1902 - 1971)
Stevie Smith (1902 to 1971)
Stevie Smith is a poet who is frivolous yet serious, an expert tightrope walker whose poems are both devastating and bracing, childlike yet 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. She still has an enthusiastic following, and although some critics consider her to be 'lightweight', there are notable writers and critics who 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' (Oxford University Press - 1974) writes in appreciation: '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, we may find ourselves saying of her: it was improbable that such a poet should ever happen along, but now that she is with us she is indispensable.'
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 email@example.com
This site explores Stevie's indispensable poetry and her life. There are quotations on these pages, and you can find some of her poems on the linked sites. This site is best read with a copy of Stevie Smith's 'Collected Poems' which is out of print in the UK but the American edition can be obtained the American Amazon web site. Stevie Smith's 'Selected Poems' in paper or Kindle format is available from UK booksellers. The web pages that follow also give information on other books by and about Stevie Smith.
Follow the links to find out more about Stevie Smith:
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 which is green on top 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 aren't familiar with Stevie’s poems give yourself a treat and buy Stevie Smith’s ‘Collected Poems’ available in American bookshops or on www.amazon.com or, as a second best, buy the ‘Selected Poems’, available in UK bookshops or from www.amazon.co.uk.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
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