Patti Smith and Sam Shepard Stop by the Poetry Center
There’s this picture in the definitive book of the 1970′s New York punk scene, Please Kill Me, it’s one of the most striking images among a bevy of iconic photos: Sam Shepard and Patti Smith sitting in the staged squalor of their 1971 collaborative play, Cowboy Mouth. The caption reads, “two writers, in love, onstage”, and is a perfect snapshot of two artists in the early days of their brilliant careers. In the forty years since their meeting, the duo have remained close, their names have become legendary, and in 2010, they both have books out that led them to the stage of the Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y for a night of back and forth readings.
The duo, who admitted to meeting for coffee on a normal basis, kept the conversation between reading their work light and sweet. Smith, reading for the first time at 92Y, played the part of the nostalgic by reading from her wonderful new book of memories from her early days in New York, Just Kids (Harper Collins). Shepard, something of a veteran of readings at the Upper East Side institution, seemed just fine letting Smith be the highlight of the evening, but the guy could have just as easily carried the night on his own
Whatever the case, the sold out room was treated to an evening of two icons reading their works and having a good time being friends.
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