Edith Sitwell

Poet / Writer
Date Of Birth:
7 September 1887
Date Of Death:
9 December 1964
Place Of Birth:
Scarborough, England
Best Known As:
The eccentric poet who wrote 1941's "Still Falls the Rain"

Name at birth: Edith Louisa Sitwell

Dame Edith Sitwell was a famous literary figure in her time, a poet, critic and novelist known for her embrace of experimentation as well as her flamboyant appearance. She and her younger brothers, Sacheverell and Osbert Sitwell, were all celebrated hosts of London’s literary scene between World War I and World War II. Edith is best known for her 1941 allegorical poem, “Still Falls the Rain.” Between 1916 and 1921, Edith co-edited Wheels with her brothers, a journal of avant garde poetry. She also published her own poems (beginning in 1913) and championed other writers, including the poet Wilfred Owen. She caused a stir in 1922 when she did a public reading of her work, Façade with a jazz band, but by World War II Edith Sitwell was an established literary celebrity, an iconoclast known for her tall, crooked frame, large nose and wild outfits that included turbans and velvet brocade. Popular enough to tour the U.S. doing poetry readings in 1948, Sitwell was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1954. In the 1960s she could be seen on television interviews and in magazines, one of a handful of famous poets at the time. Besides poetry, she wrote two well-received books on Queen Elizabeth I, a popular comic non-fiction book, The English Eccentrics (1933) and an autobiography, Taken Care Of (1965). Sitwell’s poetry collections include Clowns’ Houses (1918), Street Songs (1942), Gardeners & Astronomers (1953) and Music and Ceremonies (1963).
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