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Glenda Jackson on playing poet Stevie Smith – archive, 1977

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17 March 1977: Jackson spoke to the Guardian ahead of the opening of Hugh Whitemore’s play about the late-blossoming poet from Palmers Green

Glenda Jackson met Stevie Smith on a poetry-reading platform in the 1960’s, when the poet from Palmers Green came into a late-blossoming fame. “This extraordinary little figure stood directly in front of me – which was odd, because people usually approach you at an angle – and I remember these eyes boring into me, and this grin, and a strange skirt and sandals and ankle socks. Then she romped on to the stage and did Not Waving But Drowning: and I thought, Well, lady, you’re not as strange as you look.”

Now Glenda Jackson’s into the skirt, socks and sandals herself. She is Stevie in Hugh Whitemore’s play about the poet which opens at the Vaudeville next Wednesday.

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