Listen To Patti Smith’s First Poetry Reading In 1971
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In the ’70s, Patti Smith became a pioneer of what would be known as the punk rock movement. But before she released her seminal debut album “Horses”, she was already well-known around the New York poetry scene. Aside from learning from Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso and Sam Shepard also inspired her works.
She said, “Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs were all my teachers, each one passing through the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel, my new university.”
Sitting beside Corso during poetry readings and watching other poets, she recalled that she “made a mental note to make certain I was never boring if I read my own poems one day”. And it was Shepard who advised her to add music to her first public reading on February 10, 1971 at St. Mark’s Church. It was hosted by Project Poetry.
And so she asked guitar player Lenny Kaye to accompany her and it became a template for her future performances and would be known as her trademark style.
She revealed to NME that that piece was “a bit controversial because we had sort of desecrated the hall of poetry with an electric guitar.”
Listen to it below.