Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 06 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This essay considers the importance of the outsider in contemporary poetry, focusing on the ways F. T. Prince and Stevie Smith’s work has influenced subsequent generations and been appropriated by them. In 1967, F. T. Prince refused to write a blurb for Lee Harwood’s poetry on the grounds that his ‘obscure and doubtful’ reputation would do little to promote it; the same year saw Stevie Smith declaring she read nobody’s poetry but her own. This insistence on their own marginality finds its way into poetic tributes by Brian Patten, Patricia Beer, and Lee Harwood. Both poets suffered the vicissitudes of post-war publishing, their uneven reception drawing admirers as unlikely as Tom Raworth and Andrew Motion. Yet the singularity of their work raises difficult questions about influence and inheritance, and both Sylvia Plath’s use of Smith and Geoffrey Hill’s use of Prince suggest the problems of accommodating the poetic outsider.

Keywords: poetry, influence, legacy, F. T. Prince, Stevie Smith, outsider, marginal

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.