New artwork celebrates Palmers Green poet

Renowned poet Stevie Smith lived in Palmers Green for most of her life

The artwork now in place at The Triangle in Palmers Green celebrates the life of poet Stevie Smith (inset)

A new permanent artwork celebrating poet Stevie Smith has been unveiled in Palmers Green, where she lived for 65 years.

Through Enfield Council’s ‘Stories of Enfield‘ programme supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Palmers Green Action Team successfully applied for funding for its ‘Poetry in Palmers Green’ project, which “celebrates Stevie’s unique poetic point of view”.

Stevie Smith, who died in 1971 aged 68, lived in Palmers Green from the age of three. She published three novels, ten poetry collections and several other works and is remembered as a sophisticated poet who often focused on suffering and death. Her dark humour could sometimes shock, as seen in her most famous poem Not Waving But Drowning.

Despite her fame, Smith was previously only commemorated in Palmers Green with a blue plaque on the house where she lived. Now, a commissioned piece of text-based artwork by artist Ruth Hallgarten has been revealed at The Triangle in the centre of Palmers Green, incorporating Smith’s poem The Pleasures of Friendship.

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Ruth explained: “I have loved creating this piece for Palmers Green. I imagined Stevie Smith typing her poetry and used the typewriter font within the Corten steel, with the negative space to allow the plants to grow through the letters. I hope her words continue to give pleasure to passers by.”
The Poetry in Palmers Green project also aims to trigger local interest and pride in this nationally recognised poet. To support the installation of the artwork there have been poetry workshops for children and adults at Palmers Green Library, led by local writer Martin Jenkins and the local poetry circle People with Voices, led by Poppy Medenis.

Participants explored and responded to Smith’s poetry to create a range of artworks which will be displayed at an event of talks and readings to celebrate Stevie Smith’s life and work, taking place this Sunday.

Book a ticket for the free Stevie Smith event taking place on Sunday, 16th October, from 5.30pm at St John’s Church:

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