Thursday, January 12, 2006

Patti Smith

Here's a nice piece on Patti Smith's newest collection of poetry. People who remember Smith only for her punk records have probably never listened to them- she clearly wanted to be a successor to the great visionary poets, such as Blake and Rimbaud, even then. One clue as to why she is a quite good poet, while other rockers have not been, is this line from her interview:
"I've been slowly reading more contemporary poetry—someone like James Wright, or Sylvia Plath, who is probably my biggest influence among contemporary poets. I learned a lot from her rhythms, repetition, and her strong sense of poetic structure."

My heart is like a balloon when I hear someone list Sylvia Plath and James Wright as examples of contemporary poetry. Smith writes good poems because, first and foremost, she is an enthusiast. We need more.

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