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Not Waving but Drowning Summary & Analysis
by Stevie Smith

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"Not Waving but Drowning" is the most famous poem by British poet Stevie Smith, and was first published in 1957. The poem describes a drowning man whose frantic arm gestures are mistaken for waving by distant onlookers. On a less literal level, the poem speaks to the isolation and pain of being misunderstood, and is a kind of parable about the distance between inner feelings and outward appearance.

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