Devotion

About the Author

Patti Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist. Her memoir Just Kids received a National Book Award, and her recent book M Train is a critically acclaimed New York Times best seller. Smith was awarded the prestigious title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by the French Republic. Her seminal album Horses has been hailed as one of the top 100 albums of all time, and in 2007 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Smith lives in New York City.

Devotion

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Description

Patti Smith

A work of creative brilliance may seem like magic—its source a mystery, its impact unexpectedly stirring. How does an artist accomplish such an achievement, connecting deeply with an audience never met? In this groundbreaking book, one of our culture’s beloved artists offers a detailed account of her own creative process, inspirations, and unexpected connections.

 

Patti Smith first presents an original and beautifully crafted tale of obsession—a young skater who lives for her art, a possessive collector who ruthlessly seeks his prize, a relationship forged of need both craven and exalted. She then takes us on a second journey, exploring the sources of her story. We travel through the South of France to Camus’s house, and visit the garden of the great publisher Gallimard where the ghosts of Mishima, Nabokov, and Genet mingle. Smith tracks down Simone Weil’s grave in a lonely cemetery, hours from London, and winds through the nameless Paris streets of Patrick Modiano’s novels. Whether writing in a café or a train, Smith generously opens her notebooks and lets us glimpse the alchemy of her art and craft in this arresting and original book on writing.

 

The Why I Write series is based on the Windham-Campbell Lectures, delivered annually to commemorate the awarding of the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University.

  • Hardcover
  • 4.75 x 7 inches
  • 112 pages, 11 b+w illustrations
  • Published: 2017


Editorial Reviews

"Smith, a contemplative writer of gratitude and reverence who names her muses in poems, memoirs, and songs, deepens her inquiry into the nature of inspiration in this slender, trenchant volume, the first in Yale's Why I Write series. . . . Gracefully improvisational, as always, Smith offers an unusually poetic, mystical, and transfixing perspective on the mystery of literary creation." —Donna Seaman, Booklist

"The lesson is obvious: that a writer draws on every detail of his or her life for the alchemical, often unconscious process of creation. But seeing the process in action is a profound experience. Smith’s writing in the essays is as beautifully structured as her poetry." —Publishers Weekly

“Smith is telling it her way, but also in the ancient way. It’s recognizable to readers for its mythic proportion, accessible to all kinds of people for its brevity and intensity—and yet, it’s still distinctly Patti Smith." —Megan Volpert, PopMatters, 9/10 stars

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