Patti Smith Robert Christgau - Essay

Robert Christgau

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Patti Smith is in trouble. She's caught in a classic double bind—accused of selling out by her former allies and of not selling by ner new ones. Maybe she's just too famous for her own good. Habitues of the poetry vanguard that provided her initial panache, many of whom mistake her proud press and modest sales for genuine stardom, are sometimes envious and often disdainful of her renown as a poet, since she is not devoted to the craft of poetry and they are. Music-biz pros both in and out of her record company, aware that her second album, Radio Ethiopia, is already bulleting down the charts, are reminded once again that print exposure is the least reliable of promotional tools in an aural medium, not least...

(The entire section is 2342 words.)