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Publisher's Summary

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 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' 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 cafe 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.

©2017 Patti Smith (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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long live patti

I always am deeply moved by patti Smiths books, its an honor to hear her intimate reading.

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No Disappointment Here

I’m a avid fan of Patti Smith and always will be. Having met her in my youth, she impressed me then, as she still does, more than fifty years later. My heart leapt when I saw that she, herself, had narrated Devotion.
Patti Smith’s reading of her own work propels my into a state of near bliss. Sultry, yet savage, would be an almost adequate explanation of how I feel about this artist’s voice and use of our modern language. She excelled as a singer, song writer and iconic punk poetess, as she excels as a story writer. I’m thankful and still in love. Not bad for a Jersey Girl. Namaste.