“Devotion is short enough to devour at one enjoyable sitting and thought-provoking enough to deserve re-reading.”—Suzi Feay, Financial Times
“Devotion shows rather than tells what it means to give a life to writing. ”—Katherine Cooper, Hyperallergic
A work of creative brilliance may seem like magic—its source a mystery, its impact unexpectedly stirring. How does an artist accomplish such an achievement, connecting deeply with an audience never met? In this groundbreaking book, one of our culture’s beloved artists offers a detailed account of her own creative process, inspirations, and unexpected connections.
Patti Smith, a National Book Award–winning author, first presents an original and beautifully crafted tale of obsession—a young skater who lives for her art, a possessive collector who ruthlessly seeks his prize, a relationship forged of need both craven and exalted. She then takes us on a second journey, exploring the sources of her story. We travel through the South of France to Camus’s house, and visit the garden of the great publisher Gallimard where the ghosts of Mishima, Nabokov, and Genet mingle. Smith tracks down Simone Weil’s grave in a lonely cemetery, hours from London, and winds through the nameless Paris streets of Patrick Modiano’s novels. Whether writing in a café or a train, Smith generously opens her notebooks and lets us glimpse the alchemy of her art and craft in this arresting and original book on writing.
The Why I Write series is based on the Windham–Campbell Lectures, delivered annually to commemorate the awarding of the Donald Windham–Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University.
Patti Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist. Her memoir Just Kids received a National Book Award, and her book M Train is a critically acclaimed New York Times best seller. Smith was awarded the prestigious title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by the French Republic, and in 2007 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Smith lives in New York City.
“Devotion is short enough to devour at one enjoyable sitting and thought-provoking enough to deserve re-reading. . . . It’s a privilege to spend any time with Patti Smith, however brief.”—Suzi Feay, Financial Times
“A triptych of compact, heartfelt essays on discovery, solitude and writing.”—Darragh McManus, Irish Independent
“By turns allegorical, metaphysical, fictional and factual, Devotion shows rather than tells what it means to give a life to writing. A master of poetic innovation, Smith takes her style to the next level in this slim volume.”—Katherine Cooper, Hyperallergic
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