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Stevie Smith

Biography

Stevie Smith was born Florence Margaret Smith in Hull in 1902. Her father worked for a forwarding agency but did not care for the job, as he had always wanted to go to sea, and he let the agency founder. In 1906 he left his wife and daughters. Her mother, the mother’s sister and the two girls moved to a house in Palmers Green, in London, where Smith would spend the rest of her life. However, soon after arriving she got tuberculosis and spent much of the next three years in a convalescent home. Her name was a nickname, taken from the jockey Steve Donoghue. Her family called her Peggy. Like Pompey in Novel on Yellow Paper, she spent the rest of her life with her aunt and was the private secretary to a businessman. She never went to university but did read voraciously. She wrote three novels, loosely based on her own life, as well as poetry and stories. Much of her poetry was about death and loneliness, including her most famous poem, with its famous title/closing line, Not Waving But Drowning. She died in 1971.

Books about Stevie Smith

Frances Spalding: Stevie Smith: A Critical Biography

Other links

Stevie Smith
Stevie Smith
Stevie Smith
Stevie Smith (1902 – 1971)
Stevie Smith biography
Stevie Smith (sixteen of her poems)
Stevie Smith (twenty of her poems)
Stevie Smith (five of her poems)

Bibliography

1936 Novel on Yellow Paper (novel)
1937 A Good Time Was Had by All (poetry)
1938 Over the Frontier (novel)
1938 Tender Only to One (poetry)
1942 Mother, What Is Man? (poetry)
1949 The Holiday (novel)
1950 Harold’s Leap (poetry)
1957 Not Waving but Drowning (poetry)
1958 Some Are More Human than Others: Sketchbook
1962 Selected Poems (poetry)
1966 The Frog Prince and Other Poems (poetry)
1969 The Best Beast (poetry)
1972 Scorpion and Other Poems (poetry)
1975 The Collected Poems of Stevie Smith (poetry)
1981 Me Again: Uncollected Writings of Stevie Smith
1988 New Selected Poems of Stevie Smith
1999 Our Bog Is Dood : Selected Poems for Young Readers
2002 Stevie: A Motley Selection of Her Poems