In the following essay I will be discussing Stevie Smith with special focus on two of her poems, namely, ‘Nor We of Her to Him’ and ‘Pad, Pad.’ These poems at first glance seem to be very simple but with closer inspection they “cut knife-edge deep to serious concerns.”
At first glance, both poems seem very shallow and miniscule in significance. Relationships come and go. People are always coming in and out of your life. It is only with further inspection that we see the negatives effects that both of these poems bring to light. First of all to understand the poetry, a better understanding of Stevie Smith is needed. She was a feminist who claimed to have “no patience” with men. She described her family as typically Victorian, “father knows best.” Using feminism as a reading method, many of Stevie Smith’s collected poems generate a real image of the female’s body and call for reformulating her gendered role. Smith’s literary works are significantly influenced by her life. She did not call herself a feminist or like to be branded so, her manly name, her body shape and above all her viewpoints on women’s problems, mirrored in her poetry, associate her to the feminist group. In both poems, the female is the main character taking a stand and walking away. Both poems speak about a relationship that is giving off the impression that it is stable and happy but only for the one person. The male in the affiliation is caught off guard and left in an emotional state. Stereotypically, it would be the other way round. She led what appeared to be a calm, ordinary life but by the late 1960s had become well known as a poet with a highly distinctive approach. The bizarre mix of humour and misfortune in her poems has its roots in her upbringing. Her father deserted the family when she was young and from the age of five she was regularly taken away from home to recuperate from tuberculosis in a hospital. She also battled...
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