Such a death were sweet: Invitingly Deadly Waters in the Poems and Drawings of Stevie Smith

Geraldine Bell


Death by drowning was a favourite topic of Stevie Smiths across her poetic oeuvre. J. Edward Mallot established this in his 2003 article which concentrated on the agency of Smiths drowning women. However, in my close examination of some pertinent examples of Smiths water poems, I want to address the theme of communication that Mallot briefly introduced. This paper will specifically analyse how and why Smiths waters are deadly but inviting for her various characters. I will be drawing on Smiths illustrations and her written texts as evidence for my argument. This is in keeping with my wider research on poets who have illustrated their own work for an adult readership.


Stevie Smith; Illustration; Poetry; Poet-illustrators; Death

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