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Patti Smith, The Godmother Of Punk Rock, Shares Her 'Devotion'

The “Godmother of Punk Rock,” Patti Smith, on creativity and invention. She’s with us.

Godmother of punk rock Patti Smith knows a little bit about creativity. It’s been her life. The sometimes subtle, sometimes fiery interplay of dreams and will and everyday living that brings the spark of creation, invention. She chased it with her buddy Robert Mapplethorpe. Co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen in “Because the Night.” Has let her imagination run for a half century and more now. And she’s thinking about the alchemy. Up next On Point: poet, musician, memoirist Patti Smith on creativity and invention. –Tom Ashbrook.


Patti Smith, Musician, writer and artist known as the “Godmother of Punk Rock.” Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Author of “Devotion.”

From Tom’s Reading List

Pop Matters: Patti Smith Is Some Messed Up Kind of Saint — “It’s completely unfair to compare Patty Smith’s new book, Devotion, to her previous two, Just Kids and M Train. Just Kids and M Train are memoirs. While Devotion purports to be non-fiction, it’s not strictly speaking a memoir. Devotion is actually the title of a short story, which takes up most of the scant hundred pages in this book. It opens and closes with Smith’s reflection on how the short story of “Devotion” came to be written. What we really have is the first piece of fiction by Smith, and her accompanying thoughts on how it was made.”

The New Yorker: My Buddy — “I was far away, standing in the rain before the sleeping lion of Lucerne, a colossal, noble, stoic lion carved from the rock of a low cliff. The rain fell, obscuring tears. I knew that I would see Sam again somewhere in the landscape of dream, but at that moment I imagined I was back in Kentucky, with the rolling fields and the creek that widens into a small river. I pictured Sam’s books lining the shelves, his boots lined against the wall, beneath the window where he would watch the horses grazing by the wooden fence. I pictured myself sitting at the kitchen table, reaching for that tattooed hand.”

Happy: Listen to Patti Smith Read The Collection Of Poetry That Would Become ‘Horses’ In 1975 — “For Smith, before there was rock ‘n’ roll there was poetry and a intense love of literature. As she puts it, she got “sidetracked” by music, and wandered down a path through which she could fuse her love of Rimbaud and the Beats with her adoration for Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and Jim Morrison.”

Listen To Songs From Today’s Show

Read An Excerpt from Patti Smith’s New Book “Devotion”

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Recording artist Patti Smith performs at a Pre-GRAMMY Gala in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Chris Pizzello/AP)
Recording artist Patti Smith performs at a Pre-GRAMMY Gala in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Chris Pizzello/AP)