|Patricia Lee “Patti” Smith (born December 30, 1946) is an American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist, who became a highly influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses.
Called the “Godmother of Punk”, her work was a fusion of rock and poetry. Smith’s most widely known song is “Because the Night”, which was co-written with Bruce Springsteen and reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978. In 2005, Patti Smith was named a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture, and in 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On November 17, 2010, she won the National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids. She is also a recipient of the 2011 Polar Music Prize.
Advice to the young:
“To be an artist — actually, to be a human being in these times — it’s all difficult. … What matters is to know what you want and pursue it.”
A writer, or any artist, can’t expect to be embraced by the people [but] you just keep doing your work — because you have to, because it’s your calling.
Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful — be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually, that name will be its own currency.
To be an artist — actually, to be a human being in these times — it’s all difficult. … What matters is to know what you want and pursue it. … [Life] is like a roller coaster. It’s never going to be perfect — it is going to have perfect moments, and then rough spots, but it’s all worth it.
“Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.”
“I don’t fuck much with the past but I fuck plenty with the future.”
“Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.”
“For life is the best thing we have in this existence. And if we should desire to believe in something, it should be a beacon within. This beacon being the sun, sea, and sky, our children, our work, our companions and, most simply put, the embodiment of love.”
“I believe that we, that this planet, hasn’t seen its Golden Age. Everybody says its finished … art’s finished, rock and roll is dead, God is dead. Fuck that! This is my chance in the world. I didn’t live back there in Mesopotamia, I wasn’t there in the Garden of Eden, I wasn’t there with Emperor Han, I’m right here right now and I want now to be the Golden Age …if only each generation would realise that the time for greatness is right now when they’re alive … the time to flower is now.”
In the period where I had to live the life of a citizen – a life where, like everybody else, I did tons of laundry and cleaned toilet bowls, changed hundreds of diapers and nursed children – I learned a lot.
An artist may have burdens the ordinary citizen doesn’t know, but the ordinary citizen has burdens that many artists never even touch.
I never felt oppressed because of my gender. When I’m writing a poem or drawing, I’m not a female; I’m an artist.