Florence Margaret Smith, known as Stevie Smith (20 September 1902 – 7 March 1971) was an English poet and novelist.
Stevie Smith, born Florence Margaret Smith in Kingston upon Hull, was the second daughter of Ethel and Charles Smith. She was called "Peggy" within her family, but acquired the name "Stevie" as a young woman when she was riding in the park with a friend who said that she reminded him of the jockey Steve Donaghue.
Her father was a shipping agent, a business that he had inherited from his father. As the company and his marriage began to fall apart, he ran away to sea and Smith saw very little of her father after that. He appeared occasionally on 24-hour shore leave and sent very brief postcards ("Off to Valparaiso, Love Daddy").
When she was three years old she moved with her mother and sister to Palmers Green in North London where Smith would live until her death in 1971. She resented the fact that her father had abandoned his family. Later, when her mother became ill, her aunt Madge Spear (whom Smith called "The Lion Aunt") came to live with them, raised Smith and her elder sister Molly and became the most important person in Smith's life. Spear was a feminist who claimed to have "no patience" with men and, as Smith wrote, "she also had 'no patience' with Hitler". Smith and Molly were raised without men and thus became attached to their own independence, in contrast to what Smith described as the typical Victorian family atmosphere of "father knows best"...
Quotes by Stevie Smith
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