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Woolgathering Hardcover – November 28, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


“A poet of distinction.” — The New York Times

“Smith is well attuned to the otherwordly dimension of dreams and cosmic visions. In this intimate and vaulting collection, she ushers us into the kingdom of childhood…Smith looks to family history for sources of her artistic impulses and portrays herself in adulthood as a roaming mystic, journal in hand, heart and mind open. Exultations of concentrated beauty and mystery ignite Smith’s soulful poems about the making of an artist.” — Booklist

“ ” — The Guardian

About the Author

Patti Smith is a poet, performer, visual artist, and author of the National Book Award-winning memoir Just Kids. She has twelve albums, has had numerous gallery shows, and continues to give concerts of her music and poetry. Her books include Early Work, The Coral Sea, Witt, Babel, Auguries of Innocence, Woolgathering, Land 250, Trois, and many others. She lives in New York.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; 1 edition (November 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811219445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811219440
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.6 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patti Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary merging of poetry and rock. She has released twelve albums, including Horses, which has been hailed as one of the top one hundred debut albums of all time by Rolling Stone.

Smith had her first exhibit of drawings at the Gotham Book Mart in 1973 and has been represented by the Robert Miller Gallery since 1978. Her books include Just Kids, winner of the National Book Award in 2010, Wītt, Babel, Woolgathering, The Coral Sea, and Auguries of Innocence.

In 2005, the French Ministry of Culture awarded Smith the title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, the highest honor given to an artist by the French Republic. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

In 1980, she married the musician Fred Sonic Smith in Detroit. They had a son, Jackson, and a daughter, Jesse. Smith resides in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Evelyn Getchell TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
WOOLGATHERING by Patti Smith is a rare and precious jewel of a book - a small but multifaceted memoir of rich, artistic expression and shimmering, ethereal prose that takes soaring flight with the evocative imagery of Patti's unique and genuine poetic language.

Patti Smith writes with such grace and honesty from her most sacred interior landscapes that each of the memories she shares with us in WOOLGATHERING is a nugget of pure gold, mined from the substratum of her personal truth.

I have always loved Patti Smith's music, ever since I first heard Horses when I myself was a young Bohemian in the mid-seventies. The music was great but her lyrics... well, they took my breath away. Those songs were so powerful and so liberating to me that I soon became a great admirer of all of Patti Smith's writing as well.

And here I am now, a sixty year old lady in Florida, still dancing with wild abandon to the pulsating rhythms of Patti's language and music, still being carried away by the sound of her dreams and her meditations.

One doesn't have to listen to Patti's band or any of her albums to hear the music of Patti's soul. No. Just pick up this small, beautiful book and begin reading. Read it aloud to yourself as I like to do and I promise you that you will hear Patti's prose sing to you. Patti Smith's prose is her instrument of poetry, her instrument of vision.

In WOOLGATHERING the vision of Patti Smith is a lyrical celebration of coming into fullness and its "clear, unspeakable joy." Patti hopes that this little book "will fill the reader with a vague and curious joy." I can confirm that this reader has not only been filled with that vague and curious joy, my consciousness has blossomed with it!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Josephine Segarra on February 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is just awesome; I'd been looking for it for the longest time and was so glad to finally find it. Patti is such a wonderful writer, conjuring up such vivid images with her words. She shares so many childhood memories here, its so interesting to hear from whence she came :)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Unicorn R. on July 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Patti Smith once again graces us with the opportunity to get inside not her head, but her soul. Patti does not hold anything back. She shares everything she has inside her with such care that it makes you feel as if you were becoming her, with that intimate relationship the book offers you. This short tiny book offers more deep thoughts than 700 page books. Recommended to any person who can read. A must for every human.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jaime H. on March 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Patti Smith that we so often envision is the one of intensity and power, ranting relentlessly onstage. She is the Patti that is the embodiment of punk, and is busy serving up rebellion and telling `the man' how it is. For more hardcore fans and followers, there is also a Patti that is the intelligent Baudelaire-quoting troubadour. She is the one that has seen so much and shares it all freely for others to learn.
In Woolgathering, we are given a look into the creation and life of this powerhouse that delivers a glimpse of fragility and reflection. First published nearly twenty years ago, just after her 45th birthday, Woolgathering went largely unnoticed. This remastered edition supplies extended content and photos from the early life of Patti Smith, along with a further look into the icon herself.
With intertwining stories from her childhood, those from her early twenties, and the reflection back on them, we are transported into a life that could be anyone's. Smith takes the magic and unawareness that it is to be a child, and draws us into a world that is almost magical, but almost tattered at the same time, managing to write about her childhood experiences without filling in the gaps of knowledge with what she has learned as an adult. She then drifts into the mind of what it is to be in your twenties and think that the world is yours, and that every word, every decision, carries such a heavy importance with it. Flowing easily from the unawareness of childhood, to the self-absorption of young-adulthood, to the self-reflection of later life, Woolgathering is a dreamy, yet honest autobiography.
There is a quiet intensity that pulls one through the pages of this book that cannot be fully described or credited.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
It fits in the palm of your hand and unfolds mysterious narrative & lyric threads interspersed with black & white photos, some taken by the author's sister. A must for the die-hard-dyed-in-the wool Patti fan.
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30 of 41 people found the following review helpful By John Wilson on July 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
This little book is the very essence of all that I love most about Patti Smith, and I think, her greatest piece of writing, period. For me she is a bridge between my past(Rock 'N' Roll obsessions)and present(totally Shamanically immersed)with the way that she set out to be a throughy modern Western, Rock 'N' Roll even, Shamanita. At her least sucessful she is a self-obsessed ultra modern poser, set in a pose of the perpetual rocker tough gal outsider...and it feels like such a pose, or show, because of how it contrasts with her when she's not shucking & see at her best...she is a free form channeler of the muse of the great mystery itself, and rarely have anyone written as gracefully about such impossible subjects. Her work here is heartbreakingly beautiful and rates with the best of Rumi or e.e. cummings; to name two others who tackled such subjects with both their writings and the living of their very lives as well. I know the price is usually very high on this, & it is a small book...but only in size, & is absolutely enormous in all it aspires to, and priceless in how it ascends towards it's tasks !
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