Stevie Smith

Stevie Smith (born Florence Margaret Smith, 20 September 1902 – 7 March 1971) was an English writer.

She adopted the nickname “Stevie” when she was young.  She was riding in the park with a friend, and he said that she reminded him of the jockey Steve Donoghue.

Her father abandoned the family when she was a child. Later, when her mother became ill, her feminist aunt Madge Spear (whom Smith called “The Lion Aunt”) came to live with them. Smith’s mother died when the writer was 16.

She studied at Palmers Green High School and North London Collegiate School for Girls, and later worked as secretary at Newnes Publishing Company in London from 1923 to 1953. Afterwards, she gave poetry readings and broadcasts on the BBC. Sylvia Plath became a fan of her poetry.

Smith led a secluded life, and suffered throughout her life from depression. She died of a brain tumour.



Poetry collections

  • This Englishwoman (1937)
  • A Good Time Was Had By All (1937)
  • Tender Only to One (1938)
  • Mother, What Is Man? (1942)
  • Harold’s Leap (1950)
  • Not Waving but Drowning (1957)
  • Selected Poems (1962) includes 17 previously unpublished poems
  • The Frog Prince (1966) includes 69 previously unpublished poems
  • The Best Beast (1969)
  • Two in One (1971) reprint of Selected Poems and The Frog Prince
  • Scorpion and Other Poems (1972)
  • Collected Poems (1975)
  • Selected Poems (1978)
  • New Selected Poems of Stevie Smith (1988)
  • Come on Come Back 1972


  • Some Are More Human Than Others: A Sketch-Book (1958)
  • Cats in Colour (1959)
  • Me Again: Uncollected Writings of Stevie Smith (1984)
  • “The Necessity of Not Believing” (Gemini No. 5, Spring 1958, Vol. 2, No. 1)

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