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Not Waving but Drowning
Not Waving but Drowning
by Stevie Smith

Stevie Smith’s Calling Card

What is the poet’s signature style?

Macabre Humor

Stevie Smith is as obsessed with death as Emily Dickinson or Sylvia Plath, but if you're reading a morbid poem that makes you giggle, chances are you're reading a Smith poem. She often uses verse forms from nursery rhymes or plays with rhythm and slant rhyme to steal a smile; she also loves to use deliberately inappropriate diction to puncture the overly serious subject of mortality. Here she pokes fun at both the dead man's self-centered melancholy and the onlookers' insensitivity. She's the poet most likely to make her neighbors laugh at a boring funeral. Even if it's her own.

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