If you have been reading Wunderbuzz thoroughly in the past weeks you might have seen my growing interest for poetry. When I went to my local magazine pusher; Artwords Bookshop in Shoreditch I brought home with me Encens Magazine #24 and on the first page there was a quote from the famous poet Edith Sitwell. The quote said:
I admire what other people wear when it is unusual.
The first thing that came into my mind was my days in high-school where everybody looked the same, because nobody wanted to stand out and how I admired it when a few people didn’t care what others thought and wore something completely different than everybody else. I don’t know if they did it to provoke or if they just had a different style, but that wasn’t really relevant anyway. The point was that they didn’t care about being different.
Edith was born the 7th September 1887 and I’m guessing that things were a bit different for young people in the 1880s, than in my high-school, but the fear of standing out and being different may still have been there.
If Edith didn’t want to seem unusual, her parents made it difficult for her. She had a terrible relationship to her parents and her father locked her into an iron frame saying that he wanted to cure her for her supposed spinal deformation! And Edith never married which was a big deal then, but instead she fell in love with the homosexual Russian painter Pavel Tchelitchew. What a fantastic foundation for an up-and-coming poet!
Edith published her first poem The Drowned Suns in the Daily Mirror in 1913 and her career took off.
She was always dressed in an unusual manner (or not like the rest) with gowns of brocade or velvet with gold turbans and a plethora of rings – which was to be a part of todays jewelry gallery of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It is said that her unusual appearance provoked critics almost as much as her verse, but was that because they were angst about somebody standing out from the rest? No matter what the reason was Edith Sitwell WAS admirable.