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Early Work: 1970-1979 Paperback – 12 Jul 1995

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (12 July 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393313018
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393313017
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"[Early Work] establishes Smith as a visionary belletrist who believed in rock as a spiritual outlet and haven for black sheep an outpost on a continuum connecting such heroes as poets Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Baudelaire, Amelia Earhart, Harry Houdini and film director Pier Paolo Pasolini to a sexy, androgynous future." Evelyn McDonnell, Rolling Stone

"A poet of distinction." John Rockwell, New York Times

"[Early Work] burns . . . with the galvanizing sense of faith and transcendence that made [Smith] the last of the great rock poets." Entertainment Weekly

A poet of distinction.--John Rockwell, <em>New York Times</em>

A poet of distinction.--John Rockwell, New York Times

[Early Work] burns . . . with the galvanizing sense of faith and transcendence that made [Smith] the last of the great rock poets. "

A poet of distinction. --John Rockwell, New York Times"

[Early Work] establishes Smith as a visionary belletrist who believed in rock as a spiritual outlet and haven for black sheep an outpost on a continuum connecting such heroes as poets Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Baudelaire, Amelia Earhart, Harry Houdini and film director Pier Paolo Pasolini to a sexy, androgynous future. --Evelyn McDonnell, Rolling Stone"

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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Format: Hardcover
I think this is Patti's best poetry book. Really well put together. The following is taken from inside the dust jacket: "Contains poems & prose from her books: 'Seventh Heaven' - 'Ha! Ha! Houdini!' (complete) - and 'Witt', as well as selections from her landmark work 'Babel'. Over 1/4 of the works are previously un-published, chosen from transcriptions of performance pieces, notebook entries, and the authors personal papers". - - - In my own humble opinion, the poetry is DEEP, thought provoking and comprehensive in it's scope. One of those treasured books that you come back to again and again and: 'dip in, dip in, to the sea, into the sea, of possibility......'
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There is only one Patti Smith. Get it now. And all the others.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Work: 1970-1979 By Patti Smith 14 Mar. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Excellent compilation of the early stuff that would be hard to get now. I also have the "originals" small chap books containing most of the same works. It is great to have it all together on one book. Not for everyone, but for those who "know" her this is a "must" to add to your collection. Reading this work is highly inspirational to poets like myself. Those who are new to her works and those who are wanting to really "know" Patti should read this book of her early stuff. I have followed her since the ealy 1970's. A true Patti fan will not be disappointed. Buy this book !
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patti, at her most mythic and provocative 1 Jun. 2004
By M. Bromberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Patti's fans (and foes) will find plenty of ammunition in this collection of lyrics and poetry from the 1970s. From the earliest, it is obvious that Patti's a romantic mythmaker at heart, with syntax and meaning almost losing out to the sheer power and rhythm of the word. It's difficult to read her lyrics without hearing the rock'n'roll that carried them aloft. Patti's subject matter on the earliest albums -- art, drugs, and mysticism in full romantic swoon -- she delivered with nearly Biblical passion. Her lyric styles and confessional soul-searching owe a debt to Jim Morrison, which Patti has always acknowledged, and the power of Patti's words (like Morrison's) is often in their performance and not on the printed page. Her fans will appreciate having a written record of Patti's earliest lyrics, but the simply curious may not be converted.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome 4 Sept. 2010
By Listen 2 the Music - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I fell in love with Patti's first album,Then later when this book came out i fell in love with her poetry this is an excellent Book for anyone thats into Poetry in a style influnced by poets such as Rimbaud and Jim Morrison who was also influnced by Rimbaud
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but Uneven 9 July 2016
By miliosr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
After she published her book Babel in 1978, Patti Smith did not publish another book again until 1992, when she released the pocket-sized book of prose stories, Woolgathering. Two years later, she published Early Work: 1970-1979 which, as the title suggests, was an overview of her written work from the 1970s.

The first thing to note about this volume is that it is far from comprehensive. If you want to read her lyrics from the four albums she recorded in the 70s, then you should seek out her 1998 lyrics collection, Complete: Lyrics, Reflections & Notes for the Future. Most of the lyrics aren't included in Early Work. Likewise most of the "rock writing" (Smith's term) that she did for such publications as CREEM, Rock Scene and Rolling Stone does not feature here. Finally, the poetry and prose gathered for Early Work represents only a small subset of what she published during that decade. Only portions of the books Seventh Heaven, k.o.d.a.k., Witt and Babel are included, and nothing from The Night (her collaboration with Tom Verlaine) appears.

The book itself is divided into four chronological sections: 1970-72, 1973-74, 1975-76 and 1977-79. Of the four sections, I find the first and fourth to be of the most interest; albeit for different reasons. To my mind, the first section, 1970-72, works the best as actual written (as compared to performed) literature. For the beginning Patti Smith reader who wants to read her poetry but doesn't know where to start, this section would be the best starting place as it is the most accessible.

As the collection proceeds through the 70s, the pieces become denser and more inscrutable and enjoyment of them really depends on how much you know about Patti Smith and her life and work during the 70s. The last section, 1977-79, is the densest and most inscrutable of all but it is fascinating in its way. Pieces like "High on Rebellion" and "The Salvation of Rock" make for excellent companion pieces to the major statement she made on her 1978 album, Easter.

Furthermore, it's impossible to read the pieces contained in this section and not connect them to events in Smith's life at the time: The fall she took offstage in Tampa, FL during 1977 and her subsequent recovery, her return to live performing and the recording of Easter, her break-up with Blue Oyster Cult guitarist Allen Lanier and her subsequent relationship with MC5 guitarist Fred 'Sonic' Smith, and her increasing disillusionment with rock 'n' roll stardom (see the prose piece "Florence"). The pieces are by no means easy but they do provide an interesting glimpse into her thought processes around this time.

Until Smith herself or someone else produces the literary equivalent of a catalogue raisonne of all of her 70s work, Early Work: 1970-1979 will have to serve as the most thorough gathering of her work from that decade. The book's contents are uneven and I actually think she improved as a writer during her long hiatus in Detroit. But the book is worth owning for the glimpse it gives of Patti Smith during this formative decade.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Few have crafted modern mythology so well... 17 Sept. 2006
By David Alston - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
EARLY WORK is an ideal intro to Patti Smith the writer, and - if you're already a fan of the music - it's an essential companion.

Compiling material that appeared in earlier chapbooks and the BABEL collection from 1978, the selection of poems and prose-poems appearing here dive farther into the varied personas and philosophies suggested on her many engaging recordings. Here we have Patti the priestess, Patti the punk generalissimo, Patti the diva, Patti the provocateur...

Most provocatively, I will always love her splintering of sexual roles - ostensibly within the context of her rock world (posing like Keith Richards, the diva-as-cock-rocker), but with implicit greater applications as well. And her conflicted spirituality comes through quite eloquently.

EARLY WORK presents some of the key work of New York's grass-roots artistic comeback. Not to be missed.

-David Alston
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