Patti Smith

b. 1946
Patti SmithKimberly Smith
Singer, songwriter, playwright, and poet, Patti Smith has been influenced by artists as diverse as Arthur Rimbaud, Bob Dylan, Antonin Artaud, Jimi Hendrix, William Blake, and the Rolling Stones. As a high school student she was interested in jazz and poetry, and her early creative works were poems. Drawn to the act of performing her work, she read her poems with a guitarist, eventually adding an entire band.

Smith first published her poems in 1972, the same year she co-wrote a play, Cowboy Mouth, with Sam Shepard. Since then she has published a number of collections of verse, including Babel (1978), Early Work, 1970–1979 (1994), The Coral Sea (1996), and Patti Smith Complete: Lyrics, Reflections & Notes for the Future (1998).

Smith writes in a stream-of-consciousness style, often meditating on questions of mortality and faith. Of her 2008 Auguries of Innocence, critic Donna Seaman wrote that Smith “presents lithe works unsettling in their spiritual inquiry, archetypal imagery, and dissonant juxtapositions.”

Hailed as the “godmother of punk” by the New York Times, Smith has a cultlike following. Her albums include Horses (1975), Radio Ethiopia (1976), Easter (1978), and Gone Again (1996). She has also been a contributor to the magazines Rolling Stone and Rock.

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    Sound clips from Kathy Acker, Laurie Anderson, Caroline Bergvall, Denise Levertov, Lydia Lunch, Patti Smith, Eileen Myles, and many more.

Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

LIFE SPAN 1946–

Patti Smith

Biography

Singer, songwriter, playwright, and poet, Patti Smith has been influenced by artists as diverse as Arthur Rimbaud, Bob Dylan, Antonin Artaud, Jimi Hendrix, William Blake, and the Rolling Stones. As a high school student she was interested in jazz and poetry, and her early creative works were poems. Drawn to the act of performing her work, she read her poems with a guitarist, eventually adding an entire band.

Smith first . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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