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Not Waving but Drowning

Not Waving but Drowning

by Stevie Smith

Analysis: Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

According to our poetess, the poem's based on a news article with the headline "Needless Dash to Bather on Rubber Float." Yep, that's right: Smith turned the situation inside out. Not even fact can stand up to the poet's morbidity. (Source.)

In 1969, Stevie was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. When she met Queen Elizabeth II to receive it, she became nervous and told Her Majesty, "I don't know why, but I seem to have written rather a lot about murder lately." (Source, page 5.)

Though she's remembered best for her poetry, Stevie Smith first gained fame in 1936 for her debut book, Novel on Yellow Paper. Allegedly, she tried to place a book of poems with a publisher and was told to "go away and write a novel" first. So she did. Take that, publisher. (Source.)

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