more patti smith

13pattismith_PA2631271David L. Ulin at The LA Times:

First, let's clear up a misconception: Patti Smith's “M Train” is not a sequel to her 2010 National Book Award-winning memoir “Just Kids.” In fact, “M Train” is not a memoir at all, except in the loosest sense — a book of days, a year in the life, a series of reflections, more vignettes than sustained narrative. By saying that, I don't mean to be critical, for vignettes are what Smith does best. Just listen to “Land” and “Birdland,” or read “Woolgathering,” originally published in 1992 as a limited-edition handbook and reissued 19 years later in expanded form.

“Woolgathering” may be my favorite of Smith's books, smart and subtle and full of inference, existing in the middle ground between prose and poetry, memory and daily life. When she writes, as she does there, of having “no task more exceptional than to rescue a fleeting thought, as a tuft of wool, from the combo of the wind,” she is describing her entire aesthetic, in which the internal becomes externalized, or vice versa, and we find ourselves moving through a landscape that is both utterly real and also strangely magical, one defined by myth and icons, “a silk of souls,” she sings in “Paths That Cross,” “that whispers to me.”

more here.