Patti Smith Albert H. Johnston - Essay

Albert H. Johnston

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Rock star Patti Smith is one of the newer phenomena on the far-out youth scene, one of the most brilliantly gifted pop performers and poets since Dylan. Here [in "Babel"], in a single volume that includes her photos and line drawings, are her poems, prose sketches and other lyrical outpourings composed during the period of her rise to rockstardom—a collector's item, most likely, and certainly a mind-boggling expression of the surrealist temper that will have some readers shouting bravo while others pull out the plug. This is post-Dylan discothèque writing steeped in the cocaine mystique, savage and invincibly poignant, a volcanic spewing of image and metaphor and immures the sacred in the obscene and profane. Smith...

(The entire section is 408 words.)