Books: M Train by Patti Smith
It started with a vague inkling of who 'Patti Smith' was. A friend had shared a bit of her story with me and then, at University, I ended up at a rad lecture entitled "Patti Smith, Rock Heroics and The Sociability of Poetry". It was primarily other lecturers in attendance, plus myself and a handful of friends. Utilise what you're offered at University my friends, because a lot of people missed out on this goodness.
Fast forward to a year living in San Francisco and she insisted on popping up some more. She played at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park, leaked into various modules, and then released her first book, 'Just Kids,' which I greedily got my hands on ASAP.
My last year of University saw my dissertation taking a sharp turn in its content from male, Beat writers, to focusing on Patti Smith and Diane DiPrima. The title sat at: "Spiritual and Sexual Journeys in the Work of Patti Smith and Diane DiPrima: An Examination of Female Agency in American Postwar Bohemia". [It might be made available on here some time in the future, we'll see...]
A girl after my own heart reading Patti Smith in the beautiful setting of WOODS, Bangalow.
[See more from this trip in "Byron, Jan 2016"]
Anyway, as much as I enjoyed/loved/obsessed over Just Kids, I was keen for her to get her next book out. M Train finally made it's way into my hands in Australia. It got consumed in cafes, on my bed, on beaches, in the boot of the car as I cosied down on a road trip and waited for the boyfriend to come in from his surf. It took me surprisingly long to read for a book I expected to devour, but maybe that was the point. I re-read sentence after sentence, again and again, because I was in fact doing just that - devouring her words and trying to absorb them to memory. Patti Smith first and foremost has tended to be known as a poet and musician, but she has quickly become one of my favourite prose writers. A number of the sentiments she shares had me yelling yes! (in my head...), someone gets life!
This isn't really a book review is it... it seems to be an 'Ode to Patti Smith'. But seriously, the book is awesome. It documents her life in New York, various places she calls home, her travels across the Earth in search of small parts of writers she admires, her relationship with Fred (Sonic) Smith, and a million and one of those aforementioned sentiments and musings on life you just instantly connect with... I highly recommend a read, and am interested to hear what you think!
So, get reading... x