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The Coral Sea
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I loved "Just Kids" and see "The Coral Sea" as a warm-up exercise for it, but then again, I prefer straight-ahead memoir to opaque poetic musings.

Here's a sample: "He regarded, with irony, his feverish wand. Vegetation papered his cabin--a tomb of moss and fern. Great fish leapt and became trophies in his hand and the stag advanced and licked his palm. // How should I be charged, he whispered. For want of so much bounty. For rearranging eyes. For being one who wished nothing less than to embrace the spine of a mountain as the light played on."

If, like me, you wanted a little more after finishing "Just Kids," it's here, but not anecdotes and insights into Robert Mapplethorpe, unless you're a better decoder than I. If, on the other hand, you became intrigued with the mythic figure of poet Patti Smith, the one who venerated Gregory Corso's "The Happy Birthday of Death," you'll find this book tantalizing and luscious.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 9, 2002
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Patti Smith his come aways since HORSES. Or maybe not very far at all. Lurking beneath the poet/punk of the famous mapplethorp cover was a woman of profoundly mystical bent. In this, a fable and an elegy , for Robert as she writes in the dedication, Patti smith imagines a man searching for the southern cross, and a man dying. Each of the very short capters are accompanied by a mapplethorpe photograph. Profound, wrenching prose, which caused me to wince in pain and recognition, and ultimately, which delivers a coda to a life. This is amazing stuff, the kind of book that should be passed to loved ones wrapped in a ribbon of silk,, cherished as a gift. It is that good. It moved me like few books have in my life.Nothing in Patti smiths work had prepared me for the overwhelming beauty of this book. A staggering book of wonder.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
when i first heard 'horses' by patti smith,i thoght it was the most sublime artwork to inwade my little pretentious arty world;i thought it was better than sex, masturbation,writing or even drinking - my whole life had been transposed. yet, in years that came, patti had found away to transcend even the beauty of the actual physical existence she so celebrated w/ her life, her art, the people she loved;the little girl of vivid dreams growing into a youg poetess,into a visionary artist, a wife, a mother - the seclusion embraced by chosing domesticy only proppeling her to mature as an artist and a person; robbert mapplethorpe had been a dear friend who helped her to find her true calling - art;his gift had been taken from us all too soon by aids. she could not weep so she wrote her sorrow : about passenger m who, terminally ill, sets on his last journey, a pilgrimage to see the southern cross;in his last days he questions his life which had been beautiful and which he adorned w/ his gift of the perfect placement of things; it had not been a perfect life however- he was unable to find a balance beetween his desire for perfection and the actual life itself; thus he was dying alone, his last wish to see his ideal the southern cross: perhaps in his mind he had failed to be what he wished, but his passing away was beautiful and he left behind his art to light the way of those treading after him, us. pattis work tells us about the inner struggle of the artist, she describes robbert as an artist (no matter what else he might have been),inducing us to believe in the power and importance of art in our life; her book is a loving elegie to her friend, her beloved compeer, her unfettered joy. leena spite.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This gorgeous elegaic tribute to Mapplethorpe, to the enduring and transforming power of Love, is like a drop of purest gold that will work quiet alchemy in your spirit; elegant, restrained, and all the more powerful for the subtle discipline Ms Smith brings - as ever - to her heartfelt poems and meditations. We're privileged to share this healing, necessary work. Staggering and Beautiful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
What a wonderful book. Patti Smith's poetry is full with an intense personal feeling. I can only echo the comments of previous reviewers; this book shines a bright and pellucid beauty, both in its poetry and in the sublime photographs. Spending an afternoon with The Coral Sea took me into a serene, meditative, dreamy state. It has that quality. Something of it reminded me of Visconti's film, Death in Venice. This is a book I shall always have.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
I recently read Just Kids by Smith and was wowed. That doesn't happen often so I became increasingly interested in her other works and music. While the book has the same hypnotic writing I had hoped for something similar to Just Kids. I am impressed with all her work, talent and will continue to look for all works by Smith.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is very strange and sweet. If your a fan of Patti's poetry than you will enjoy this book.
It is a short collection of poems inspired by Patti's friend Robert. Patti and Robert's relationship is told in her book "Just Kids".
You can read this book before or after "Just Kids" but I would recommend reading "Just Kids" before reading "The Coral Sea". I suggest this because I felt more empathetic and attached to the poems and reading about Robert.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
Ms. Smith's "The Coral Sea," is a lovely piece of writing, a fine eulogy, one that manages to be both poetic and personal, without drifting towards hagiography. It is a very quiet book, a musing, but also an exercise in not forgetting, even as its subject fades to black.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Lyrical Patti Smith. It was a waking dream reading this book. Her writing about a special person on his own plane of existence was a real journey for my imagination. Would that we all should be so lucky to have a posthumous novel like this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The poetry describes perfectly the talent and sensibility of Patti Smith's talent.
Enjoyable and interestingly ilustrated.
Iám a big fan of this unique artist.
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