Just Kids

By Patti Smith
(Ecco Press, Hardcover, 9780066211312, 279pp.)

Publication Date: January 2010

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the February 2010 Indie Notables
“Just Kids is more than a vividly written, detail-rich memoir of Patti Smith's relationship with the young Robert Mapplethorpe. (Although that alone would be plenty to make this a delightful read.) It's also a snapshot of a bygone era in the New York City art and music scene. Highly recommended!”
-- Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI


It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion, and initiation.

Patti Smith would evolve as a poet and performer, and Robert Mapplethorpe would direct his highly provocative style toward photography. Bound in innocence and enthusiasm, they traversed the city from Coney Island to Forty-second Street, and eventually to the celebrated round table of Max's Kansas City, where the Andy Warhol contingent held court. In 1969, the pair set up camp at the Hotel Chelsea and soon entered a community of the famous and infamousthe influential artists of the day and the colorful fringe. It was a time of heightened awareness, when the worlds of poetry, rock and roll, art, and sexual politics were colliding and exploding. In this milieu, two kids made a pact to take care of each other. Scrappy, romantic, committed to create, and fueled by their mutual dreams and drives, they would prod and provide for one another during the hungry years.

Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late sixties and seventies and to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions. A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists' ascent, a prelude to fame.

About the Author
is a naturalist at the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC) in Brattleboro, Vermont, where she writes and teaches about natural history. She lives in the foothills of Vermont's Green Mountains.

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010

Before the death of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in 1989, punk godmother Patti Smith promised her friend she would write their story. Twenty years later, she's keeping that promise. She joins Fresh Air for a conversation about their relationship and their art. More at NPR.org

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Friday, Jan 15, 2010

The iconic rock singer has written a book called Just Kids about her friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The two met when they were young artists just starting out in New York in the late 1960s. More at NPR.org

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