Musician, Artist and Writer Patti Smith Comes to Ursinus

Rock musician, poet, artist and writer Patti Smith will appear at Ursinus College April 5 at 7 p.m. in Lenfest Auditorium.

In 1970, Smith, who is a friend of photographer Robert Frank, wrote in her notebook: “I keep trying to figure out what it means to be American. When I look in myself I see Abyssinia, nineteenth-century France, but I can’t recognize what makes me American. I think about Robert Frank’s photographs – broke down jukeboxes in Gallup, New Mexico, swaying hips and spurs, ponytails and syphilitic cowpokes, hash slingers, the glowing black tarp of U.S. 285 and the Hoboken stars and stripes.”

Ursinus Is Talking About…. , is presenting Smith as part of its focus this semester on the photography of Robert Frank. The Berman Museum of Art, on the Ursinus campus, is showing Spaces, Places and Identity: Robert Frank “Portraits” until April 17. Robert Frank directed the video for Smith’s “Summer Cannibals”.

Smith is the winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Non-Fiction for Just Kids. She will be sharing more thoughts on Robert Frank, talking about Just Kids and playing songs.

Born in Chicago and raised in South Jersey, Smith’s 1975 debut album, Horses, has been ranked one of the great albums. In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Patti Smith and her band have released eight studio albums on Arista Records from 1975-2002, including Horses, Radio Ethiopia, Easter, Wave, Dream of Life, Gone Again, Peace and Noise, and Gung Ho.  In 2010, Smith received the ASCAP’s Founders Award for lifetime achievement.

Smith’s poetry collections include Auguries of Innocence, published by Ecco Press. Previously published books include Babel, Early Work, The Coral Sea, and Complete. She has exhibited at various galleries and museums.

Some copies of Just Kids are available at the Circulation Desk in Myrin Library. Discussions about the book at Wismer Center are planned for March 31, April 7 and April 11.

Patti Smith photo courtesy Edward Mapplethorpe.