Auguries of Innocence

Overview

Auguries of Innocence is the first book of poetry from Patti Smith in more than a decade. It marks a major accomplishment from a poet and performer who has inscribed her vision of our world in powerful anthems, ballads, and lyrics. In this intimate and searing collection of poems, Smith joins in that great tradition of troubadours, journeymen, wordsmiths, and artists who respond to the world around them in fresh and original language. Her influences are eclectic and striking: Blake, Rimbaud, Picasso, Arbus, and ...

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Auguries of Innocence

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Overview

Auguries of Innocence is the first book of poetry from Patti Smith in more than a decade. It marks a major accomplishment from a poet and performer who has inscribed her vision of our world in powerful anthems, ballads, and lyrics. In this intimate and searing collection of poems, Smith joins in that great tradition of troubadours, journeymen, wordsmiths, and artists who respond to the world around them in fresh and original language. Her influences are eclectic and striking: Blake, Rimbaud, Picasso, Arbus, and Johnny Appleseed. Smith is an American original; her poems are oracles for our times.

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Editorial Reviews

The Oregonian (Portland)
“The incendiary rock star mellows.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“30 years after Horses, Smith’s light is still burning bright.”
Publishers Weekly
Smith's fans remain legion; her 1975 album Horses, a masterpiece, continues to influence and inspire. Her writings, appearing over the years following the band's '80s dormancy, have garnered a cult following not unlike that of Charles Bukowski. The press chat quotes the following from a poem called "The Long Road": "We broke our mother's heart and became ourselves./ We proceeded to breathe and therefore to leave,/ drunken startled beings, each of us a god." It's hard to imagine those lines in a book published by Ecco without Smith to back them up. Yet they do convey what can only be called Smith's mystique, and the book as whole effectively transmits the affect and aura, as well as the innocence, that make her a rock star: one believes in her. There are better lines and poems among the 24 short lyrics (along with the long, diffuse "Birds of Iraq"); the book certainly eclipses, say, Billy Corgan's recent Blinking with Fists. There are more polished books of poems by bandleaders (David Berman's Actual Air and Jeff Tweedy's Adult Head come to mind), but these poems allow access to a major artist's thoughts and preoccupations. (Oct. 11) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060832674
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/10/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 795,722
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.24 (d)

Meet the Author

Patti Smith

Patti Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary mergence of poetry and rock. Her seminal album Horses, bearing Robert Mapplethorpe’s renowned photograph, has been hailed as one of the top 100 albums of all time. Her books include Witt, Babel, Woolgathering, The Coral Sea, and Auguries of Innocence. In 2005, the French Ministry of Culture awarded Smith the prestigious title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, the highest honor awarded to an artist by the French Republic. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Smith married the late Fred Sonic Smith in Detroit in 1980. They had a son, Jackson, and a daughter, Jesse. Smith resides in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt

Auguries of Innocence
Poems The Lovecrafter

I saw you who was myself
slightly stooped whistling mouth
with leather sack and breeches brown
striding the naked countryside

with summer bones long and dry
into the breadth of our glad day
mid afternoon the longer night
as you tread bareheaded bright

I saw you a wraith bemoan
stir the fires of the ancient ones
scarred with sticks pome and haw
as the nectar for their script

I saw you walk the length of fields
far as the finger of Providence
far as the mounds we call hills
ranges cut from the heart of slate

I saw you dip into your sack
scattering seeds where they may
as the woodsman hews his way
through oak ash and variant pines

for writing desks that shall reflect
a sheaf of lines that speak of trees
all sober hopes required within
all drunkenness as sacred swims

I saw the book upon the shelf
I saw you who was myself
I saw the empty sack at last
I saw the branch your shadow cast

Auguries of Innocence
Poems
. Copyright ? by Patti Smith. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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First Chapter

Auguries of Innocence
Poems The Lovecrafter

I saw you who was myself
slightly stooped whistling mouth
with leather sack and breeches brown
striding the naked countryside

with summer bones long and dry
into the breadth of our glad day
mid afternoon the longer night
as you tread bareheaded bright

I saw you a wraith bemoan
stir the fires of the ancient ones
scarred with sticks pome and haw
as the nectar for their script

I saw you walk the length of fields
far as the finger of Providence
far as the mounds we call hills
ranges cut from the heart of slate

I saw you dip into your sack
scattering seeds where they may
as the woodsman hews his way
through oak ash and variant pines

for writing desks that shall reflect
a sheaf of lines that speak of trees
all sober hopes required within
all drunkenness as sacred swims

I saw the book upon the shelf
I saw you who was myself
I saw the empty sack at last
I saw the branch your shadow cast

Auguries of Innocence
Poems
. Copyright © by Patti Smith. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

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