cover image Woolgathering


Patti Smith. New Directions, $18.95 (80p) ISBN 9780811219440

"The writing of it drew me from my strange torpor and I hope that in some measure it will fill the reader with a vague and curious joy." Poet, artist, and musician Smith, winner of the National Book Award for Just Kids, provides a new introduction for this childhood memoir (first published in 1992), describing how the book developed from a period of intense depression. Smith's concise, lyrical essays invite the reader to dwell on the text. In "Barndance," she describes how children grow to recognize the dichotomy between physical similarities to their families and cognitive differences. Several essays discuss her artistic goals, and in "Two Worlds," she writes about her dream of becoming a painter. Belonging is a frequent theme, and in "Millet," she writes about her connection, and lack thereof, with her grandmothers and mother. Half beautiful language and metaphors, half raw emotion, this book (which includes a handful of personal photos) will inspire and influence a new generation of logophiles as they read and reread this absorbing, meditative work. (Nov.)