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"Do You Have a Band?"Poetry and Punk Rock in New York City$
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Daniel Kane

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780231162975

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231162975.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

“I Just Got Different Theories” Patti Smith and the New York School of Poetry

“I Just Got Different Theories” Patti Smith and the New York School of Poetry

(p.121) Five “I Just Got Different Theories” Patti Smith and the New York School of Poetry
"Do You Have a Band?"

Daniel Kane

Columbia University Press

This chapter analyzes how, from her time as a young performance poet in New York in the late 1960s to her current position as punk rock’s éminence grise, Patti Smith foregrounded the image of the poet as privileged seer. Simultaneously, Smith rejected stereotypically “feminine” personae emphatically both in terms of the content of her writing and in her very style when performing on stage. Much like Richard Hell’s response to the St. Mark’s scene, Smith developed vatic postures and made gender trouble within the context of her relationship to the Poetry Project. The Poetry Project proved a site in which Smith negotiated friendship literally and metaphorically as a way to establish herself in New York’s downtown scene, from which she launched herself into the world of corporate record labels and rock ‘n’ roll concert arenas. Smith’s friendship with Project-affiliated poets was equal parts target-based ingratiation and strategic distantiation verging at times into overt disrespect. This distantiation, performed fairly consistently in interviews during the early 1970s and re-invoked (if in a much-tempered version) in her memoir Just Kids (2010), successfully kept Smith from becoming fully absorbed into the Poetry Project scene.

Keywords:   Patti Smith, Horses, The Patti Smith Group, Feminism, gender, the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church

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