Devotion by Patti Smith


From the renowned artist and author Patti Smith, an inspired exploration of the nature of creative invention A work of creative brilliance may seem like magic—its source a mystery, its impact unexpectedly stirring. How does an artist accomplish such an achievement, connecting deeply with an audience never met? In this groundbreaking book, one of our culture’s beloved artists offers a detailed account of her own creative process, inspirations,...

Details Devotion

Release DateSep 12th, 2017
PublisherYale University Press
GenreNonfiction, Language, Writing, Autobiography, Memoir, Poetry, Essays

Reviews Devotion

  • David Schaafsma
    Devotion by Patti Smith was the 2016 Windham-Campbell Lecture at Yale University. Smith, a singer, writer, and photographer, wrote M Train and Just Kids and several volumes of poetry. Her album Horses is widely viewed as one of the great rock albums of all time. Where does her inspiration come from? Smith writes every day, usually in a café in Manhattan. She’s in her seventies now, having survived a husband and a long time partner, Robert Mapp...
  • Janet
    A worthwhile addition to the Patti Smith library. "Devotion" beautifully describes Patti Smith's attitude toward the creative life, as anyone who has read M Train or Just Kids can attest. This tiny volume is divided into three parts. The first, "How the Mind Works" is not analytical but illustrative. It starts, "Somehow, in search of something else, I stumbled upon..." A film about Estonians deported to Siberian collective farms in 1941. Images ...
  • Debashis
  • Constance
    Devotion is delivered to the reader in a bouquet of immortelle with a sword hidden in the middle.I've said it before and will continue to reiterate, Ms Smith's books are to be read slowly, methodically or you will miss the magic.I was ecstatic when Devotion finally arrived. I skipped through my home holding it dear to my heart.Later I read a few pages, and slept with it beside me. The connection of her work is that potent; having the book close w...
  • Chris
    While at the Harvard Book Store last week, I decided to console myself with the fact I couldn't make yet another trip in two weeks' time back to the city to see Patti Smith live, by purchasing her new book. I adore her, but in this case, I should have purchased a remainder hard cover copy of my beloved "M Train" instead of her newest. I was looking for this to be "M Train 2.0," but instead got an odd little 100-page book divided in three parts. P...
  • Sian Lile-Pastore
    It IS a bit slight... But still lovely. It's a three parter - starts non-fiction about travelling to France, which I really enjoyed, then there's a short story about an ice skater which was just ok for me, and then a short non-fiction piece at the end about going to Camus' house. Some lovely parts in the non-fiction - coffee, books, bowls of berries etc etc and the short story wasn't awful by any means, but wasn't really expecting it.
  • Offbalance
    While I often say that my love of Patti Smith's writing is massive and boundless, I may now have to qualify that to say that my love of Patti Smith's nonfiction is boundless. I could stand on street corners and harangue complete strangers into reading her absolutely perfect memoir Just Kids. It's a book so beautiful that it made me cry on the subway before 8am on a weekday. (Usually if I tear up under those circumstances, it has to do with a foul...
  • Freesiab (Bookish Review)
    It was so beautiful, delicate, passionate and lovely. It's more of a novella, so it's quite easy to finish in a day. Does she ever write a book that's not perfect? Maybe she'd adopt me?
  • Sarah Koppelkam
    I love you Patti. As always, Patti's voice is unmistakable. Her love for black coffee, for visiting the graves of her muses, for simplicity and for obsession (devotion?): it's all here. As Smith says herself in the third section of this slim text ("A Dream is Not a Dream") it is a rare thing to be able to track all of the influences, images, and fascinations that make up a piece of art. But Smith does it here. In the first section, "How the Mind ...
  • Michael Bohli
    Gewisse Menschen wollen nicht schreiben, sie müssen. Auch Patti Smith gehört dazu und widmet sich mit "Devotion" den Hintergründe der Tätigkeit und ihrem Ansporn. Auf typisch poetische Weise erzählt sie von ihren persönlichen Gedanken, ihren liebsten Bücher und Autoren und ihrer Umgebung. In der Mitte des kurzen und hübsch gestalteten Buches hat sogar noch eine Kurzgeschichte Platz gefunden und Smith beweist damit, dass ihre Sprache und i...
  • Sarah
    A 95 page reminder that Patti Smith is an amazing artist and down right cool person.
  • Michael
    Smith's opening essay gives a snapshot of the weeks in her life leading up to the composition of the title story. I found the essay fascinating; beautifully written and transporting. She allowed me to feel like I was her journey's companion, sharing her coffee, experiencing the sights, sounds and feel of the places through which she was travelling (even when she was staying somewhere, absorbing its atmosphere, it felt like Patti was looking to th...
  • Lulufrances
    Patti Smith is one of my favourite humans that I don't know.I wish I would, though, I feel like I could curl up for hours and listen to her speak on all sorts of topics, mainly art and literature - which is why I am so fond of her writing that seems like personal journal entries.This tiny book had two of those sections and one longer tale in the middle which I thought was easy and fun to read (she does know her craft, sentences like hot buttered ...
  • Kate
    "When does it cease to be something beautiful, a faithful aspect of the heart, to become off-center, slightly off the axis, and then hurled into an obsessional void?"I love Patti's writing. Her style, how it makes me feel reading her work putting on an old comfy sweater. So I was excited to read her latest book. Though small it packs a punch!A well crafted short story, along with her travel narratives and thought processes. She pays...
  • Mary
    A beautiful, yet slight book, written by one of my favorite artist on the planet. I should have read this in an hour, but hummingbirds & bees interrupted my reading on my porch, & Turner Classic Movies took over my night. Completely different than "Just Kids" & "M Train" but no less beautiful.
  • Lauren Matthews-Nicholls
    Haunting. The essays and story. Breathtaking musings on writing, loneliness and discovery
  • David C Ward
    Rather slight and I have to say a bit undercooked. Two short chapters of Smith's experiential wanderings (Paris, Simone Weil etc) frame a short story about a girl genius skater and an older man. The prose and terms of their relationship are very mannered. The man takes the girl away from her life which is the moment of skating; he is a collector and he collects her. Freed, she returns to her pond and skates. A moral I guess. The final short chapt...
  • tortoise dreams
    An expanded version of Patti Smith's 2016 Windham-Campbell lecture, part of the Why I Write series.Book Review: Devotion is a book written by an artist. Patti Smith exists as an artist. A musician, poet, photographer, memoirist, reviewer, Patti Smith is all of those, none of those, more than those; she's an artist. All is art to her, and as such, she is both more and less known than she might be. Devotion is made in three parts, but more than thr...
  • Libby Greene
    *Another review that is only loosely that.*At first: a little too Patti Smith. Her schtick is her schtick. Its references-- roads, cities, cemeteries, dead authors, tokens, bodies of water, souvenirs (that is: her memories)-- are a physical inventory of her writing or her life, and absent of the experiences animating that inventory (and absent of any familiarity with her dead authors), it's not particularly compelling. I felt the same way about T...
  • Kajsa
    När jag bläddrade genom boken var jag tvungen att sucka lite. Pattis namedropping gör mig obekväm, och det tog väl två, tre läsningar innan jag faktiskt förstod vad hon höll på med. Smith vill väldigt gärna skriva in sig i en berättelse på samma villkor som sina skrivande förebilder, men samtidigt inte förhöja sig. Det gör att hon ofta hamnar i en form av berättande som rör sig mellan det litterära pretantiösa och det popul...
  • Terzah
    Part of a series called "Why I Write," this quick read from Smith features a novella she wrote sandwiched between a chapter describing the circumstances surrounding the novella's creation and another chapter ruminating on inspiration in general. It was an enjoyable window into her creative process.My favorite passage came at the end: "What is the task? To compose a work that communicates on several levels, as in a parable, devoid of the stain of ...
  • CaitlynK
    "Why do we write? A chorus erupts.Because we cannot simply live."I liked the background the first section gives us in terms of the circumstances under which the second section (the short story) came about. And the story itself is like a condensed, more compelling version of a segment in Fates and Furies.But still - eh. While enjoyable, I didn't feel like a lot of new ground was covered. That said, it's a quick read, and I did quite enjoy the last...
  • Ada
    3,8.Les dues parts autobiogràfiques (la 1 i la 3) m'han agradat més que la part del mig, que és una història curta que va escriure durant un viatge a França. Sí que m'ha agradat força, he trobat que els personatges estaven ben construïts, però no he acabat de captar què volia fer amb ella, la història no m'ha semblat ben resolta. Però vaja, sempre és un plaer llegir la Patti.
  • Emily Frank
    Short but beautiful.
  • Sherine
    I just love this woman’s mind - both sharp and dreamy.
  • Monica
    Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Anything else I have to say about reading this, I have to write by hand.
  • Meg
    The best way to start a new year is with a good book & a hot cuppa. Patti Smith never ceases to impress & mesmerize me with the way she spins words into images, feelings, truth.
  • Beth Boylan
    Patti Smith could rewrite the phone book, and I would devour it. Devotion is a tiny book comprised of her musings on why we write, as well as an original story about a young figure skater and an older man's obsession with her. Simple, clear, poetic, and masterful.
  • Debra Hale-Shelton
    I am fascinated by Patti Smith’s talents and intellect. I loved this small, quiet, even tender book. I hope to reread it later. Mostly I want to meet Smith.
  • Nadin
    "Why do we write? ... Because we cannot simply live." A modern fairy tale accompanied by two small essays about writing.