Woolgathering Hardcover – Nov 8 2011
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“A poet of distinction.” — The New York Times
“Smith is well attuned to the otherwordly dimension of dreams and cosmic visions. In this intimate and vaulting collection, she ushers us into the kingdom of childhood…Smith looks to family history for sources of her artistic impulses and portrays herself in adulthood as a roaming mystic, journal in hand, heart and mind open. Exultations of concentrated beauty and mystery ignite Smith’s soulful poems about the making of an artist.” — Booklist
“ ” — The Guardian
About the Author
Patti Smith is a poet, performer, visual artist, and author of the National Book Award-winning memoir Just Kids. She has twelve albums, has had numerous gallery shows, and continues to give concerts of her music and poetry. Her books include Early Work, The Coral Sea, Witt, Babel, Auguries of Innocence, Woolgathering, Land 250, Trois, and many others. She lives in New York.
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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!
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.
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