‘Nor did I socialise with their people’: Patti Smith, rock heroics and the poetics of sociability
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 February 2012
From her time as a young performance poet in New York in the late 1960s to her current position as punk rock's éminence grise, Patti Smith has foregrounded the image of the poet as privileged seer. This essay seeks to read Smith's romantic impulses within the context of her activity in the Poetry Project at St Mark's Church, the pre-eminent public face of the Lower East Side poetry scene of the 1960s and 1970s. Ultimately, this essay will argue how Smith's complex negotiations between her understanding of the Poet as Visionary and the adamantly playful, diffuse and collaborative aesthetic characterising downtown New York's poetic community fed into the development of Smith's performative stance as proto-punk rock icon.
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