Stevie Smith (1902-1971)
Read by Catherine Lewis-Smith, University of Cambridge, Faculty of Divinity, Graduate Student
Stevie Smith, born Florence Margaret Smith in Kingston upon Hull, was the second daughter of Ethel and Charles Smith. She was called "Peggy" within her family, but acquired the name "Stevie" as a young woman when she was riding in the park with a friend who said that she reminded him of the jockey Steve Donaghue.
Though her poems were remarkably consistent in tone and quality throughout her life, their subject matter changed over time, with less of the outrageous wit of her youth and more reflection on suffering, faith and the end of life. Her best-known poem is "Not Waving but Drowning".