20 September 2011

Stevie Smith

The English poet Stevie Smith was born on 20 September 1902.

The description ‘not raving but droning’ under the Western Independent title was intended as a riposte to the views about blogs expressed by Andrew Marr: “… the so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night. … Most of the blogging is too angry and too abusive. “

It was also an attempt at a play on words in the title of Smith’s well-known poem, Not Waving but Drowning, published by Deutsch in a collection of the same name in 1957.    Here she is reading it.

Smith died of a brain tumour in March 1971. A play about her life, Stevie, was staged in 1977 and made into a film the following year. Smith was played in both by Glenda Jackson, now an MP and by coincidence the subject of a post here earlier this month. The film was well-regarded at the time and later appeared on VHS, but has never been available as a DVD. Hopefully the British Film Institute will find a place for it in their programme of Flipside releases.

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