Sunday, September 5, 2010

she seems a fascinating woman, edith sitwell.
i just finished reading

little augury has some brilliant posts on her
(and from which many of these images come).

::the peacock::

there was a peacock in the grounds of their estate, renishaw,
who was edith's best friend for a while growing up:
"he would wait for me until i left my mother's room, then,
with another harsh shriek would fly down into the large gardens.
we walked around these, with my arm around his lovely neck,
that shone like tears in a dark forest.
if it had not been for his crown, which made him slightly taller than me,
we should have been of the same height...this romance lasted for months.
then my father bought Peaky a wife
(in my eyes a most dull and insignificant bird)
and he discarded my companionship."

::on poetry::

i often think i should be reading poetry,
but i never really do.

this autobiography by edith sitwell

did not make me admire her poetry altogether,
but she gives illuminating insight
into how poetry is made,

rythym, tempo, dissonance and assonance.

she used synaesthesia or sense transference quite a lot in her poems:
"(because) the language of one sense was
insufficient to cover the meaning,
the sensation, I used the language of another,
and by this means attempted to pierce down to the essence
of the thing seen, by discovering in it attributes which at
first sight appear alien, but which are acutely related"

Some that I liked:
"Each dull blunt wooden stalactite
Of rain creaks, hardened by the light."

and these two are nice:

"Walk by the shore of the wan grassy sea,
Talking once more 'neath a swan-bosomed tree."

(according to Edith, there was "a great trouble with the critics"
about those lines...her words in response:
"'A wan grassy sea'? Is not the sea often the colour of summer grass?
'A swan bosomed tree'. Has nobody seen a tree covered with snow?")

::on eccentricity::

"eccentricity is not, as dull people would have us believe,
a form of madness. it is often a kind of innocent pride,
and the man of genius and the aristocrat
are frequently regarded as eccentrics because
genius and aristocrat are entirely unafraid of
and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd."

she also has very good words to say about

which i am always all for.


  1. intriguing. and what great selection of photographs.

    i will have to look into her work and biography.

  2. Anonymous10:26

    She seems like a very strong, and somewhat intimidating woman. Thank you for letting us know about her!

  3. Délire! j'adore.

  4. Very interesting blog attractive and fun to subscribe Subscribe Now

  5. thank you for this post, I've never heard about this woman, loved to read that peacock story.

  6. great post. i like eccentricity as a kind of innocent pride. amazing images.

  7. Nice post. I recently finished "The Last Years of a Rebel" written by her last assistant. Many good anecdotes there as well.

    And you've likely seen this, but it's such a great series...

  8. i am so glad you all find her intriguing, too. and thanks for your lovely comments on my blog and for visiting if you are here for the first time!
    renilde, the peacock story is what got my heart.
    and anna, i agree, it is a good way to describe it.
    and thanks so much for that tip off erik, am certainly going to be spending some time in that library.

  9. beutiful post...I was waiting for your post and this one is marvelous.....thank you all the way from Venezuela

  10. These photos are incredible, and what a lovely blog. Edith Sitwell was an amazing woman - if only we could all be like that :)

  11. thank you so much consuelo, so happy to receive kind greeetings from venezuela!!! and thankyou any idiot can:) she was, for sure. very striking looking, too.