Other literary forms (Critical Survey of Poetry: British, Irish, & Commonwealth Poets)
Stevie Smith published three autobiographical novels, the best-received of which was her first, Novel on Yellow Paper: Or, Work It Out for Yourself (1936). A book of her drawings (with captions) called Some Are More Human than Others: Sketch-Book by Stevie Smith appeared in 1958. She also wrote short stories, essays, book reviews, and a one-act radio play.
Achievements (Critical Survey of Poetry: British, Irish, & Commonwealth Poets)
Stevie Smith’s first novel received warm reviews in 1936, and she enjoyed a popularity that was sudden but relatively stable until the 1950’s, when she fell out of fashion for a number of years. By the early 1960’s, however, she was back in the public eye, and she remained popular, giving readings in which she sometimes sang her poems in an odd, singsong voice, until her death in 1971. She won the Cholmondeley Award for Poetry in 1966 and was awarded the Gold Medal for Poetry by Queen Elizabeth II in 1969.
Bibliography (Critical Survey of Poetry: British, Irish, & Commonwealth Poets)
Barbera, Jack, and William McBrien. Stevie: A Biography of Stevie Smith. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. Barbera and McBrien’s literary biography is well researched and very readable.
Civello, Catherine A. Patterns of Ambivalence: The Fiction and Poetry of Stevie Smith. Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1997. An analysis of Smith’s work using feminist theory.
Huk, Romana. Stevie Smith: Between the Lines. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. An assessment of the works of Smith and a study of their cultural significance.
Pumphrey, Martin. “Play, Fantasy, and Strange Laughter: Stevie Smith’s Uncomfortable Poetry.” Critical Quarterly 28 (Autumn, 1986): 85-96. Pumphrey uses some of the basic assumptions of play theory to approach Smith’s poems. He discusses her use of fairy-tale elements and describes her as an “anticonfessional” poet.
Rankin, Arthur. The Poetry of Stevie Smith, “Little Girl Lost.” Totowa, N.J.: Barnes and Noble, 1985. Clearly analyzes Smith’s poetic styles, themes, and attitudes.
Severin, Laura. Stevie Smith’s Resistant Antics. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997. Severin’s extensive study challenges the notions of Smith as an apolitical and eccentric poet, instead portraying her as a well-connected literary insider who used many genres to resist domestic ideology in Britain.
Spalding, Frances. Stevie Smith: A Biography. Rev. ed. New York: Sutton House, 2002. A classic biography of Smith that challenges the notion that the writer was a recluse.
Sternlicht, Sanford. Stevie Smith. Boston: Twayne, 1990. Sternlicht’s book is a good introduction to Smith’s work. It includes chapters on her novels and nonfiction as well as chronological descriptions of Smith’s development. The book contains a chronology of Smith’s life and a selected bibliography.
_______, ed. In Search of Stevie Smith. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1991. A collection of biographical and critical essays on the life and works of Smith. Includes bibliographical references and index.
Williams, Jonathan. “Much Further Out than You Thought.” Parnassus: Poetry in Review 2 (Spring/Summer, 1974): 105-127. This article is a meditation by a personal friend of Smith, most interesting for its quotations from a 1963 interview.