Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born on 29 May, 1874 at 32 Sheffield Terrace, Campden Hill, London. He was the elder son of Edward Chesterton (an estate agent) and Marie Louise (née Grosjean). As Chesterton would later emphasize in his Autobiography (1936), he had a comfortable upbringing in a middle-class family and a generally happy childhood. Chesterton was somewhat absent-minded in his early years, and was noted to be a slow learner who did not acquire reading skills until he was eight years old. Nevertheless, he eventually became an avid reader, particularly of fairy-tales. Chatterton was also known for his fondness of debating in his youth--he was a dedicated member of of the St. Paul's School debating society. After graduating from St. Paul's School, Chesterton went on to study Latin, English and French at University College, London as well Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, then a part of the college. Not feeling inclined towards academia, Chesterton abandoned post-secondary education in 1895 and worked as a publisher's reader while trying to establish himself as a man of letters. Soon afterward, he began to work as a reviewer and essayist, regularly contributing to the weekly The Speaker and the Daily News. In 1900, Chesterton published two collections of poems, of which "The Donkey" became an instant popular piece. In 1903, Chesterton published a study of Robert Browning, in the prestigious English Men of Letters series, which established him as a notable literary critic. It was during this time that Chesterton also began writing fiction and in 1904, his first novel, The Napoleon of Notting Hill was published. Inspired by Chesterton's pro-Boer stance during the South African War, this fantasy presented serious themes and was well received by reviewers. Four more fantasy novels were published between 1908 and 1914, but it was Chesterton's Father Brown detective stories that found the most success among his audiences. These stories (the first collection, The Innocence of Father Brown, appeared in 1911) follow a Roman Catholic priest whose work as a confessor has granted him excellent powers of observation and insight into the human mind. In later years, Chesterton converted to Roman Catholicism and focused on producing religious writings. At the end of 1918, Chesterton's life was shadowed by the death of his younger brother Cecil. Chesterton vowed to continue his brother's weekly newspaper New Witness (later renamed GK's Weekly) and he did so until his death. During the 1920s he was also active in the distributist movement. Situated between socialism and capitalism, this movement aimed at a middle ground by ensuring the widest possible distribution of property. Chesterton died on 14 June 1936 at his home, Top Meadow, Beaconsfield. Bergonzi, Bernard. “Chesterton, Gilbert Keith (1874–1936).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004.

  • Chesterton, G. K. Greybeards at Play: Literature and Art for Old Gentlemen, Rhymes and Sketches. London: Johnson, 1900; Sheed & Ward, 1930.
  • --.The Wild Knight and Other Poems. London: Richards, 1900; 4th revised ed. New York, N.Y.: Dutton, 1914.
  • --.The Ballad of the White Horse. New York, N.Y.: John Lane, 1911; Ed. by Sister Mary Bernadette, Brother John Totten and Brother George Schuster, ill. by Addison Burbank, Kirkwood, M.O.: Catholic Authors Press, 1950; Ed. by Bernadette Sheridan, ill. by Robert Austin, San Francisco, C.A.: Ignatius Press, 2001.
  • --.Poems. New York, N.Y.: John Lane, 1915.
  • --.Wine, Water and Song. London: Methuen, 1915, 1945.
  • --.A Poem. Privately published, 1915.
  • --.Old King Cole. Privately published, 1920.
  • --.The Ballad of St. Barbara and Other Verses. London: Palmer, 1922; New York, N.Y.: Putnam, 1923.
  • --.Poems. New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead, 1922.
  • --.G. K. Chesterton (collected poems). London: E. Benn, 1925; Methuen, 1933.
  • --.The Queen of Seven Swords. London: Sheed & Ward, 1926.
  • --.The Collected Poems of G. K. Chesterton. London: Palmer, 1927; New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead, 1932; revised ed., London: Methuen, 1933; New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead, 1966, with an introduction by Daniel B. Dodson, 1980.
  • --.Gloria in Profundis. London: Faber, 1927.
  • --.Ubi Ecclesia. London: Faber, 1929.
  • --.Lepanto. New York, N.Y: Federal Advertising Agency, 1929; San Francisco, C.A.: Ignatius Press, 2004.
  • --.The Grave of Arthur. London: Faber, 1930.
  • --.Graybeards at Play and Other Comic Verse. Ed. by John Sullivan. London: Elek, 1974.

Florence Margaret (Stevie) Smith was born on 20 September 1902 at 34 Delapole Avenue, Hull, Yorkshire. She was the daughter of Ethel Rahel and Charles Ward Smith. Her father left home for the merchant navy when his shipping business collapsed in 1906, leaving young Smith, her elder sister and mother to live off the inheritance provided by her maternal grandfather. The three women moved to Palmers Green, a hamlet on the north edge of London. Their house at 1 Avondale Road would become Stevie Smith's lifelong residence that she would come to share with her beloved aunt after her mother's death in 1919.

Smith was a sickly child who nearly died in infancy and developed tubercular peritonitis when she was five years old. After spending three years at a sanatorium for the treatment of her illness, she enrolled in Palmers Green high school and at the North London Collegiate School. Smith opted out of attending university, partially due to a lack of funds and partially because she did not wish to become a school teacher, virtually the only career choice for women at the time. Instead, she was trained at Mrs Hoster's prestigious secretarial academy. In 1922, she entered the firm of C. Arthur Pearson, where she was appointed personal secretary to Sir Neville Pearson. Although her secretarial work seemed undemanding at times, it gave Smith enough leisure time for extensive reading and writing.

Although her first collection of poems was rejected by the literary agent Curtis Brown in 1934, her first novel, Novel on Yellow Paper, was published in 1936 to great success. A year later, she managed to publish her first book of poems A Good Time was Had by All, which like all subsequent poetry collections, was illustrated with her own line drawings. Tender Only to One (1938) was equally well received, but Mother, what is Man? (1942) was less successful and the publication of her next novel, The Holiday (1949) was delayed by six years. During the 1940s and early 1950s, Smith's writing fell out of fashion; between 1953 and 1955 Punch was virtually the only periodical that would accept her work, despite the fact that she was writing some of her finest poetry during this period. In 1953, she became clinically depressed and was retired on medical advise from the company, now known as Newnes.

After her retirement, Smith spent several years as a reviewer for various periodicals, before publishing two successful collections of poetry entitled Not Waving but Drowning (1957) and The Frog Prince (1966). Her reputation once again increased, and during the 1960s she became a notable performer at poetry readings where she often performed alongside the Liverpool 'pop' poets to enthusiastic crowds. During this time, Smith was also receiving formal recognition for her writing. She was the recipient of the Cholmondeley award in 1966 and she was awarded the queen's gold medal for poetry in 1969.

Toward the end of 1970, Stevie Smith became ill with a brain tumour and she passed away several months later on 7 March, 1971 at Ashburton Cottage Hospital, Devon. Her final collection, Scorpion and other Poems appeared posthumously in 1972.

  • Montefiore, Janet. "Smith, Florence Margaret [Stevie] (1902–1971)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004.
  • Smith, Stevie. A Good Time Was Had by All. London: J. Cape, 1937.
  • --. Tender Only to One. London: J. Cape, 1938.
  • --. Mother, What is Man?. London: J. Cape, 1942.
  • --. Harold's Leap. London: Chapman and Hall, 1950. PR 6037.M43 H3 Robarts Library
  • --. Not Waving but Drowning. London: Deutsch, 1957.
  • --. Selected Poems. London: Longmans, 1962, New York: New Directions, 1964.
  • --. The Frog Prince and Other Poems. London: Longmans, 1966. PR 6037.M43 F7 Robarts Library
  • -- (With Edwin Brock and Geoffrey Hill). Penguin Modern Poets 8. London: Penguin, 1966.
  • --. The Best Beast. New York: Knopf, 1969. PR6037.M43 A6 1969 University of Toronto Libraries at Downsview
  • --. Two in One (includes Selected Poems and The Frog Prince and Other Poems). London: Longman, 1971.
  • --. Scorpion and Other Poems. London: Longman, 1972. PR 6037.M43 S3 Robarts Library
  • --. Collected Poems. London: A. Lane, 1975. PR 6037.M37 A17 1975 St. Michael's College (John M. Kelly Library); University of Toronto Libraries at Downsview
  • --. New Selected Poems of Stevie Smith. New York: New Directions, 1988. PR 6037.M43 A6 1988 Robarts Library

For other poems, see the Griffin Prize


and The Poetry Foundation


  • And the One Breath
  • At Two Solemn Musicks
  • Better Days
  • Busman's Honeymoon
  • Cleanliness
  • Häagen-Dazs Freezer Truck Blocking View of Ottawa River While Its Compressor Blots the Sounds of Nature
  • Place
  • Pleasure Cruiser
  • Seven Drunks
  • The Guru
  • The Little Walls Before China
  • The Seer
  • The Sentinel
  • The Tidal Wave
  • What Way
  • What We Had
  • You That I Loved
  • Your Story

A. F. Moritz has published fifteen books of poems, which have earned the Griffin Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Award in Literature of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Ingram Merrill Fellowship, selection to the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets, and other honours. He has translated seven books of poetry and a novel from Spanish and French, and in collaboration with Theresa Moritz has written biographies of Emma Goldman and Stephen Leacock, and The Oxford Literary Guide to Canada. He holds a doctorate in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British poetry.


  • Black Orchid. Toronto: Dreadnaught, 1981.
  • Conflicting Desire Victoria, BC: Ekstasis Editions, 2000.
  • Between the Root and the Flower. White Rock, BC: Blackfish Press, 1982.
  • Early Poems. Toronto: Insomniac Press, 2002.
  • The End of the Age. Toronto: Watershed Books, 2002.
  • Houseboat on the Styx. Victoria, BC: Ekstasis Editions, 1998.
  • Mahoning. London, ON: Brick Books, 1994.
  • Music and Exile. Toronto: Dreadnaught, 1980.
  • Rest on the Flight into Egypt. London, ON: Brick Books, 1999.
  • The Sentinal Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2008.
  • Signs and Certainties. Montreal: Villaneuve, 1979.
  • The Tradition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986.
  • The Visitation. Toronto: Aya Press, (1983).


  • Moritz, A.F. Mahoning. London: Brick Books, 1994.
  • Contemporary Authors Online. The Gale Group, 2001. li> Contemporary Poets, 7th ed. St. James Press, 2001.