Stevie Smith

In 1957 Stevie Smith published a poetry collection called Not Waving But Drowning - and its title poem gave us a phrase which has entered the language. Its success has overshadowed her wider work as the author of more than half a dozen collections of poetry and three novels, mostly written while she worked as a secretary. Her poems, printed with her pen and ink sketches, can seem simple and comical, but often beneath the surface lurk themes of melancholy, loneliness, love and death.

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  • Jeremy Noel-Tod 2 episodes
    Associate Professor in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia
  • Noreen Masud No other episodes
    Lecturer in Twentieth Century Literature at the University of Bristol
  • Will May No other episodes
    Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature at the University of Southampton

Reading list

  • A History of Twentieth-Century British Women's Poetry
    Jane Dowson and Alice Entwistle (Cambridge University Press, 2005) Google Books →
  • Rhythms of Feeling in Edward Lear, T.S. Eliot and Stevie Smith
    Jasmine Jagger (Oxford University Press, 2022) Google Books →
  • British Women's Writing, 1930 to 1960: Between the Waves
    Sue Kennedy and Jane Thomson (eds.) (Liverpool University Press, 2023) Google Books →
  • Stevie Smith and the Aphorism: Hard Language
    Noreen Masud (Oxford University Press, 2022) Google Books →
  • Stevie Smith and Authorship
    Will May (Oxford University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • Stevie Smith: A Selection
    Stevie Smith (ed. Hermione Lee) (Faber and Faber, 2019) Google Books →
  • The Collected Poems and Drawings of Stevie Smith
    Stevie Smith (ed. Will May) (Faber and Faber, 2015) Google Books →
  • The Spoken Word
    Stevie Smith (British Library CD, 2009) Google Books →
  • Me Again: The Uncollected Writings of Stevie Smith
    Stevie Smith (ed. Jack Barbera and William McBrien) (Virago, 1983) Google Books →
  • Novel on Yellow Paper
    Stevie Smith (Virago, 1936) Google Books →
  • Over the Frontier
    Stevie Smith (Virago, 1938) Google Books →
  • The Holiday
    Stevie Smith (Virago, 1949) Google Books →
  • Stevie Smith: A Biography
    Frances Spalding (Sutton, 2002) Google Books →
  • Stevie Smith: A Critical Introduction
    Frances Spalding (Faber and Faber, 1988)
  • In Search of Stevie Smith
    Sanford Sternlicht (ed.) (Syracuse University Press, 1991) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m001j45h

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Auto-category: 821 (English poetry)