And yet Just Kids is about as un-rock’n’roll as it’s possible for a book to be while still including an appearance by Gregory Corso. (“Gregory lit a cigarette and read from my pile of abandoned poems, drifting off, making a little burn mark on the arm of the chair. I poured some of my Nescafé on it.”) The book is an act of recall in the Augustinian mode, closer to Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain or Thérèse of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul than to, I don’t know, David Lee Roth’s Crazy From The Heat. The language is solemn, every word weighed, and the mood devout, even if Smith’s saints and martyrs are a gang of heretical Romantic burnouts. Arthur Rimbaud, in particular, is a supernatural consolation to the young Patti as she struggles on the assembly lines of 1960s South Jersey. “Rimbaud held the keys to a mystical language that I devoured even as I could not fully decipher it. My unrequited love for him was as real to me as anything I had experienced. At the factory where I had labored with a hard-edged, illiterate group of women, I was harassed in his name.”
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I want to read...
If Patti Smith's memoir provides real insight into her early creative years and friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe I'll happily read it. It has to be better than this disappointing documentary. (Barnes & Noble)