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You can hear Smith briefly discuss and then read the Not Waving but Drowning poem here.

She has a sort of wanness in her voice that I can't imagine Jackson capturing.

That link doesn't seem to work; try this one instead.

That's great. Thanks. Yeah, now that I hear her actual voice Glenda Jackson doesn't seem quite so right. But Roger Ebert calls it one of her greatest performances.


Looks like the movie is available on YouTube. But not anywhere else.


Her introductory comments made me think of Robin Williams.

Here is the movie. https://youtu.be/PZUqYFJvo8Q. You can see the Glenda Jackson version of the audio clip at 46:50.

I like this poem, but when I read it, I can only think about the time that my sister and I sat by a pool watching my 3 year old, who was drowning, but even though we were both looking right at her, it somehow did not register that that was what was going on. It hit us both at the same moment and she was duly saved. It was odd, though.


That's chilling. I've seen several articles in the past few years alerting people to the fact that most drownings are in fact pretty quiet affairs, not the thrashing and screaming that's sometimes depicted.

Robert, your link to the movie doesn't work. The one in my comment does. I don't know what the deal is with those "youtu.be" links that you sometimes get in YT sharing URLs. I think I just copied mine from the browser's address bar.

Smith's reading of the poem is way better than the one in the movie, by an actor, not Glenda Jackson, whom I feel I should recognize but don't. I watched the couple of minutes leading up to that, and it sounds like some of the dialog might be quotes from Smith's poems. Looks interesting anyway. Too bad it's YouTube video quality.

That's Trevor Howard who recited the poem in the movie.

I just spent a few minutes hopping around in the movie it on YouTube, and, gosh, it looks mighty depressing.

Well, that would be fitting. I don't think she was a very happy person.

I watched The Third Man again a week or two ago. That's probably why Trevor Howard seemed familiar, even though he's 30 years older.

The things you can find at the BBC -- like this video clip of W. H. Auden and Smith singing and chatting together in an Edinburgh pub in 1965. Looks as if she did have some happy moments, at least.

Yes indeed. Though most of that was unintelligible to me. "Duty was my lobster"?

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