The Coral Sea

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, 1996 - Art - 71 pages
3 Reviews
In elegant and lyrical prose, Patti Smith honors the vibrant spirit and person that was Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989).
In linked pieces she tells the story of a man on a journey to see the Southern Cross, who is reflecting on his life and fighting the illness that is consuming him. Metaphoric and dreamy, this tale of transformation arises from Smith's knowledge of Mapplethorpe as a young man and as a mature artist; his close relationship with his patron and friend, Sam Wagstaff; and his years surviving AIDS and his ascent into death. Rich in details, it is filled with references to Mapplethorpe's photographs and shows the man beneath the persona.
The Coral Sea is Smith's beautiful recasting of her grief to recapture Mapplethorpe's life in the past and his future in his art. Set against photographs by Mapplethorpe, the work reads as a hymn, a prayer, a fable wishing him Godspeed on his latest journey.

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User Review  - MaowangVater - LibraryThing

Speaking of her close companion Robert Mapplethorpe, in the book’s preface Smith writes, “When he passed away [in 1989], I could not weep so I wrote. Then I took the pages and set them away. Here are ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lisapeet - LibraryThing

I liked this. You know how it goes... it's one thing to read a poem but another thing to read a whole book of poetry, and still another to read a book of free verse. This one definitely wanted reading ... Read full review


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About the author (1996)

Patti Smith is a poet, performer, visual artist, and author of the National Book Award-winning memoir Just Kids. She has twelve albums, has had numerous gallery shows, and continues to give concerts of her music and poetry. Her books include Early Work, The Coral Sea, Witt, Babel, Auguries of Innocence, Woolgathering, Land 250, Trois, and many others. She lives in New York.

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