Stevie Smith and the Metaphors of Disengagement

Elizabeth Lawson

Abstract


Working from Stevie Smith’s open acknowledgement that being alive is ‘like being in enemy territory’ and that ‘my poems are a bit deathwards in their wish’, this essay explores the various metaphorical expression in the poems of this striking and curious alienation. It sees the artistic problem involved as the common one that we can speak of death only in living terms, that even the word ‘death’ is living metaphor. The essay leaves out the delightful funniness of much of Stevie’s work.

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