Stevie Smith once claimed not to read any modern poetry. Whether or not that’s true, she certainly got most of her echoes from older writers: Tennyson, Euripides and the (now perhaps largely forgotten) contents of the Palgrave Treasury.
I think she was also deeply influenced by the Romantics.
I’ve been very busy this summer, visiting archives across the UK to look at their holdings of Stevie Smith manuscripts. Most of Smith’s materials are in the University of Tulsa (which I’m hoping to visit next summer), and those in the UK are quite scattered. I don’t mind. It’s a nice excuse to visit different cities.
So first on my list was Leeds, a city which I’d never visited before.
Last Saturday, my friend Ali and I went to see Hugh Whitemore’s Stevie at the Hampstead Theatre.