Monday, February 17, 2020

Patti Smith - M Train

I first knew of Patti through her writings for magazines like Creem and her lyrics for bands like Blue Oyster Cult well before her debut album hit the stands and thoroughly knocked me out with their mix of garage rock'n'roll and highly visual, sexually charged, psyched out poetry. While I have not collected everything of hers by any stretch, I have tried to keep up with her career and after enjoying her Just Kids book a number of years back, Melanie was good enough to include this 2015 release among my Xmas surprises.

Here, Patti talks about her everyday life, but for her every day life includes performing in concert, giving readings, talking at a convention dedicated to the man who came up with the theory of continental drift or at Frida Kahlo's house where she was allowed to handle and photograph personal belongings and recoup from her own sickness in Diego Rivera's bed (among other adventures)! Of course, many days are spent at a NYC cafe sipping coffee and writing or simply daydreaming with nights spent watching her favorite TV shows. But among it all, she refers to writers and artists that she admires and fantasizes about in her own poetic, semi-scholarly way. There are remembrances of her late husband, the great Fred "Sonic" Smith, and their lives together in Michigan intertwined with modern events back in New York. Here, her writing style is quite descriptive, focusing on details that others might find mundane and bringing in her personal recollections and touchstones to the tales. While not exactly poetry, her prose is far more than straightforward story telling and is a delight to read.

This is one of my new fave books - highly recommended! She also references enough other writers and tomes to fill up anyone's wish list - I have several on their way already!