I have been thinking for days how to frame my next piece and finally while watching “Patti Smith: Dream of Life” last night I got it. A review reads “Patti Smith is fascinating, but this documentary Is unfocused and wandering“. I disagree with the unfocused, but I’ve decided that wandering is sometimes a fine approach.
After my visit to the Rita Angus exhibition, I was feeling a bit tense and felt compelled to race upstairs and visit with Colin and let the Northland Panels work their magic on me. I also wandered about to see other favourites and I had the revelation that “I AM” is an anthem in a way. Anyhow this was a good way of switching mindsets before attending the Writer’s Read event at Massey University to hear Martin Edmond.
I have a great deal of admiration for Martin’s writing and am a frequent reader of his Luca Antara blog and find his books the kind that I often return to. Ingrid Horrocks was chairing the session and described some of his writing as “prose poems” which I think is true, for example this. His work does range over a broad scope of subjects and landscapes as well as genres, which was mentioned in Greg O’Briens article in the latest Listener on the state on NZ literature. For me there is a dream-like quality in the writing. It was a pleasure to meet Martin and listen to him read some familiar and new pieces. Also for me (the suburban shut-in who actually hasn’t been out for a whole evening in 2+ years!) the evening was a great social occasion with intelligent, stimulating conversation, good food and interesting people. I now have all sorts of new avenues to explore (including ‘outsider art’). Thanks to all!
And so to Patti. I came to her late – I wasn’t a teen that endlessly played “Horses”. I think I discovered her via Robert Mapplethorpe and then her poetry rather than the music. This documentary, I think fits her very well. It took over 10 years to make and is full of loosely connected moments, across her life, poetry, music, art, politics and more. Perhaps, because of my association of her and Mapplethorpe, the moment of her opening a tiny Persian urn and spilling his ashes (‘remains’) into her hand was startling, touching and sad. If you have any interest in Smith – see this film.
And maybe because its been a literary few days, her poem/song “Spell” (Holy) really struck me
“…the madman is
holy as you my soul are holy!
The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is
holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!
Holy Peter holy Allen holy Solomon holy Lucien holy
Kerouac holy Huncke holy Burroughs holy Cassady…“