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Woolgathering [Hardcover]

Patti Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Nov. 8 2011
In this small, luminous memoir, the National Book Award-winner Patti Smith revisits the most sacred experiences of her early years, with truths so vivid they border on the surreal. The author entwines her childhood self - and its 'clear, unspeakable joy' - with memories both real and envisioned from her twenties on New York's MacDougal Street, the street of cafes. Woolgathering was completed in Michigan, on Patti Smith's 45th birthday and originally published in a slim volume from Raymond Foye's Hanuman Books. Twenty years later, Bloomsbury is proud to present it in a much augmented edition, featuring writing that was omitted from the book's first printing, along with new photographs and illustrations.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Frequently Bought Together

Woolgathering + Coral Sea, The + Just Kids
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Review

A poet of distinction New York Times Smith pares down her prose to a state of vivid impressionism, so enigmatic that even ordinary acts - preparing mint tea, nodding off while sewing - take on spiritual weight ... The passages evoking her childhood do reverberate with serene joy ... Writing was not Smith's first choice ... But any fans of her music will not be surprised by her mastery of it here Observer --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

A writer, performer, and visual artist, Patti Smith has exhibited her drawings and photographs internationally, most recently Camera Solo at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum in Hartford. She has recorded thirteen albums, launched by the seminal Horses in 1975. Her many books include Witt, Babel, The Coral Sea, Auguries of Innocence and Just Kids, which won the National Book Award in 2010. Patti Smith lives in New York City. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great Aug. 21 2014
By junssy
Format:Hardcover
fast shipment, great product
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful! Feb. 7 2010
By Josephine Segarra - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is just awesome; I'd been looking for it for the longest time and was so glad to finally find it. Patti is such a wonderful writer, conjuring up such vivid images with her words. She shares so many childhood memories here, its so interesting to hear from whence she came :)

Jo
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mysterious and charming little book Dec 6 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It fits in the palm of your hand and unfolds mysterious narrative & lyric threads interspersed with black & white photos, some taken by the author's sister. A must for the die-hard-dyed-in-the wool Patti fan.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quietly moving, subtle intensity March 31 2012
By Jaime H. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Patti Smith that we so often envision is the one of intensity and power, ranting relentlessly onstage. She is the Patti that is the embodiment of punk, and is busy serving up rebellion and telling `the man' how it is. For more hardcore fans and followers, there is also a Patti that is the intelligent Baudelaire-quoting troubadour. She is the one that has seen so much and shares it all freely for others to learn.
In Woolgathering, we are given a look into the creation and life of this powerhouse that delivers a glimpse of fragility and reflection. First published nearly twenty years ago, just after her 45th birthday, Woolgathering went largely unnoticed. This remastered edition supplies extended content and photos from the early life of Patti Smith, along with a further look into the icon herself.
With intertwining stories from her childhood, those from her early twenties, and the reflection back on them, we are transported into a life that could be anyone's. Smith takes the magic and unawareness that it is to be a child, and draws us into a world that is almost magical, but almost tattered at the same time, managing to write about her childhood experiences without filling in the gaps of knowledge with what she has learned as an adult. She then drifts into the mind of what it is to be in your twenties and think that the world is yours, and that every word, every decision, carries such a heavy importance with it. Flowing easily from the unawareness of childhood, to the self-absorption of young-adulthood, to the self-reflection of later life, Woolgathering is a dreamy, yet honest autobiography.
There is a quiet intensity that pulls one through the pages of this book that cannot be fully described or credited. Woolgathering is more a book of poetry in many ways, masquerading as a situational memoir. It is not a linear telling of the stories inside, as one quickly realizes that time matters less the older we get. It is more about the relation of the experiences to each other, rather than the timeline on which they may reside. In such a slim volume, there is so much feeling, urgency, and exploration that it will be read in one sitting- and then read again and again, slower each time, as one draws out their own meanings from the stories being told.
26 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wonders Of Woolgathering: Patti's Peak July 22 2003
By John Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This little book is the very essence of all that I love most about Patti Smith, and I think, her greatest piece of writing, period. For me she is a bridge between my past(Rock 'N' Roll obsessions)and present(totally Shamanically immersed)with the way that she set out to be a throughy modern Western, Rock 'N' Roll even, Shamanita. At her least sucessful she is a self-obsessed ultra modern poser, set in a pose of the perpetual rocker tough gal outsider...and it feels like such a pose, or show, because of how it contrasts with her when she's not shucking & jiving...you see at her best...she is a free form channeler of the muse of the great mystery itself, and rarely have anyone written as gracefully about such impossible subjects. Her work here is heartbreakingly beautiful and rates with the best of Rumi or e.e. cummings; to name two others who tackled such subjects with both their writings and the living of their very lives as well. I know the price is usually very high on this, & it is a small book...but only in size, & length...it is absolutely enormous in all it aspires to, and priceless in how it ascends towards it's tasks !
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, unspeakable joy. May 5 2013
By Evelyn A. Getchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
WOOLGATHERING by Patti Smith is a rare and precious jewel of a book - a small but multifaceted memoir of rich, artistic expression and shimmering, ethereal prose that takes soaring flight with the evocative imagery of Patti's unique and genuine poetic language.

Patti Smith writes with such grace and honesty from her most sacred interior landscapes that each of the memories she shares with us in WOOLGATHERING is a nugget of pure gold, mined from the substratum of her personal truth.

I have always loved Patti Smith's music, ever since I first heard Horses when I myself was a young Bohemian in the mid-seventies. The music was great but her lyrics... well, they took my breath away. Those songs were so powerful and so liberating to me that I soon became a great admirer of all of Patti Smith's writing as well.

And here I am now, a sixty year old lady in Florida, still dancing with wild abandon to the pulsating rhythms of Patti's language and music, still being carried away by the sound of her dreams and her meditations.

One doesn't have to listen to Patti's band or any of her albums to hear the music of Patti's soul. No. Just pick up this small, beautiful book and begin reading. Read it aloud to yourself as I like to do and I promise you that you will hear Patti's prose sing to you. Patti Smith's prose is her instrument of poetry, her instrument of vision.

In WOOLGATHERING the vision of Patti Smith is a lyrical celebration of coming into fullness and its "clear, unspeakable joy." Patti hopes that this little book "will fill the reader with a vague and curious joy." I can confirm that this reader has not only been filled with that vague and curious joy, my consciousness has blossomed with it!
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