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CLIP 1296

Stevie Smith - 'Not Waving But Drowning' (poem only)

Stevie Smith - 'Not Waving But Drowning' (poem only)

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Key Info
  • Stevie Smith - 'Not Waving But Drowning' (poem only)
  • Duration: 03:56
  • Stevie Smith's 1957 poem 'Not Waving But Drowning' has been reinterpreted by Tanita Tikaram, who has written accompanying music and sings the poem. The narrative is emphasised by a montage of film clips that range across generations and chart the development of an adolescent girl in the 1950s to an old woman. These serve to higlight the sense of isolation reflected in the poem.
  • Subject:



    Poetry: Early and Mid 20th Century

  • Keywords: Stevie Smith, structure, form, meaning, poetry, interpretation, empathy, Tanita Tikaram
Ideas for use in class
  • Having listened to the poem, ask students to hot seat Stevie Smith to explore her thinking when she wrote the poem. Provide biographical details about Stevie Smith. How does this add to their understanding of the poem? Create a reader response chart. Students can brainstorm the emotional responses they had when they watched this clip. Look at the form of the poem. Does the singer have the same breaks in the poem as Stevie Smith? Why do the breaks happen where they do? How do these add to the meaning of the poem?
Background details
  • Clip language : English
  • Aspect ratio : 4x3

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