Patti Smith

PBS Premiere: Dec. 30, 2009Check the broadcast schedule »

Links & Books


Patti Smith: Dream of Life
The film's official website offers the trailer and press information, as well as information about the Steven Sebring and Patti Smith's art installation, Objects of Life.

Steven Sebring
Filmmaker Steven Sebring's website contains a photo portfolio as well as information and footage from his other films.


Patti Smith

Patti Smith
Patti Smith's official website provides a wide range of information about her works, upcoming and past appearances, exhibitions and political activity. In addition, she frequently blogs about her thoughts, inspirations and ongoing projects.

Billboard: Patti Smith
Billboard magazine provides information on Smith's artistic influences, from jazz to Beat poetry to playwright Sam Shepard. It specifically focuses on her major successes and how she paved the way for other women musicians.

a patti smith babelogue
Created by a group of Patti Smith fans, the babelogue -- an extensive website of information about Smith -- contains many interviews with Smith, entries on the people and places important to Smith, extensive discographies and bibliographies of Smith's work and much more. Although the website has not been updated since 2000, the information about Smith, her work and her collaborators remain rich and thorough.

Rolling Stone: Patti Smith
In this informative overview of Smith's life, she is described as an eccentric and multi-talented muse of the punk/rock and roll movement. This entry details her most significant artistic contributions, events in her personal life, performances, activism and creative collaborations.

The Art Newspaper: Patti Smith: "I Look at Jeff Koons's Stuff and I'm Appalled"
This article introduces Smith's photography exhibition, entitled Veils, held in 2008 at the Robert Miller gallery in New York City. In her interview with Art Newspaper reporter Adrian Dannatt, Smith describes her unique process of taking photographs, how she decided to become an art teacher after seeing Andy Warhol's first retrospective in Philadelphia and how such artists have inspired her as a visual artist. (March 11, 2009)

Telegraph: "Patti Smith: These Are a Few of Her Favorite Things"
Telegraph reporter Peter Lyle reviews the 2008 exhibition of Polaroids and drawings by Smith at the Cartier Foundation in Paris. The show, entitled Land 250, featured a lifetime of artwork crafted by Smith. Many of the photographs were created especially for the exhibit. (April 5, 2008)

The New York Times Magazine: "She is a Punk Rocker"
Smith is interviewed about what it means to be called the "godmother of punk," her public persona, work with fellow artists, personal loss and current life. (July 13, 2008)

Voice of America: From Punk Pioneer to Mother to Poet
Smith's multi-faceted nature makes her hard to define: She is perpetually exploring forms of creative expression and visiting new themes. This article discusses the cultural icon's role as an ever-changing subject, and as a subject of art. (March 31, 2008)


Auguries of Innocence. Patti Smith. (New York: Ecco, 2008)
In this collection of published poems and lyrics, Smith reflects on contemporary issues such as the war in Iraq, worldwide hunger and a return to innocence.

Early Work: 1970-1979. Patti Smith. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2005)
This collection focuses on Smith's work during the era when she was most active in the punk movement. It is illustrated with photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe and Judy Linn, two of her greatest artistic collaborators.

Just Kids. Patti Smith. (New York: Ecco, 2010)
In her first book of prose, Smith gives an in-depth look into her relationship with legendary photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, as well as her life in New York City in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Trois. Patti Smith. (London: Thames and Hudson, 2008)
Over a period of almost 30 years, Smith created three books depicting her artistic world. This collection showcases her poetry, photography, drawings and handwritten notes. It is a testament to Smith's interest in all forms of expression.

Patti Smith: An Unauthorized Biography. Victor Bockris and Roberta Bayley. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999)
Bockris and Bayley tell the story of Smith's transformation from suburban child raised by Jehovah's Witnesses to punk icon. In addition, Bockris includes Smith's first interview as a public figure, which he conducted in 1972.

Break it Up: Patti Smith's "Horses" and the Remaking of Rock & Roll. Mark Paytress. (London: Piatkus, 2006)
Smith's album Horses played a crucial role in the art-punk movement of the mid-1970s. In this book, Paytress explores how Smith changed the music world with her distinctive aesthetic and became one of the most influential rock and roll artists of all time.

Patti Smith Complete 1975-2006: Lyrics, Reflections and Notes for the Future. Patti Smith. (New York: Harper Perennial, 2006)
From 1975 to 2006, Smith created an extensive amount of lyrics and recordings. This compilation prints those lyrics and provides an overview of the context for her albums, her thoughts and her work with fellow musicians.

Patti Smith: Land 250. (London: Thames and Hudson, 2008)
This catalogue, published to accompany the Cartier Foundation's exhibition Land 250, provides a unique opportunity to view 250 photographs by the artist and is supplemented by her commentaries.

Punk Music/Rock and Roll Punk Music has a section dedicated to all things punk that includes a summary of punk rock history, a catalogue of punk rock musicians, instructions for listening to music online and news of upcoming punk rock events.

Absolute Punk
Designed for punk rock lovers, this user-generated website features artist profiles, ways for musicians to share content, blogs, reviews, discussion boards and independent articles and interviews.

Encyclopedia Britannica: Punk
The Encyclopedia Britannica's entry on punk rock details the history of the movement and offers additional suggested reading.
This social networking site is for individuals interested in connecting with other punk rock enthusiasts.

Spin: "1977: The Year Punk Exploded"
Writer Charles Aaron remembers the people, including Patti Smith, and philosophies that spurred the punk scene, especially as it took root in New York City. The article also focuses on the popularization of punk and the media's fascination with this rebellious movement. (September 20, 2007)

Rolling Stone: "The Final Word from Patti Smith on CBGB"
Smith speaks with Rolling Stone reporter David Fricke about the closing of New York's seminal club CBGB, the birthplace of punk, and her final performance at the club. She reflects on how CBGB provided a community for revolutionary artists like herself and helped shape their careers. (October 17, 2006)

The New York Times: "Fans of a Groundbreaking Club Mourn and Then Move On"
Journalist Jon Pareles gives a history of famed New York club CBGB and interviews Smith about her significant contribution to New York's punk movement. (October 16, 2006)


The Encyclopedia of Punk. Brian Cogan. (New York: Sterling, 2008)
This encyclopedia's pages are filled with images of recording sessions and iconic album covers. Cogan's entries cover the history of individual bands, punk subgenres, terms, key musicians, moments in punk television, complete discographies, record labels and recommended albums. In addition, a timeline highlights the current state of punk since its inception in the 1970s.

Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. (New York: Grove Press, 2006)
Please Kill Me provides exclusive interviews and anecdotes with those at the forefront of the punk generation, such as Patti Smith. In its accounts of the era, the book brings the revolutionary New York City music scene of the 1970s to life.

Punk: The Whole Story. (New York: DK Publishing, 2006)
This definitive history of the punk movement includes a wide range of information and illustrations, such as spreads on memorabilia, interviews with leaders of the era, articles from music magazines such as MOJO and photographs of performances.

Art and Activism

Green Pages: "Patti Smith Reaffirms That People Have the Power"
In this interview, Smith describes her continuing activism as an environmentally conscious member of the Green Party and how she integrates her political views into her music. (Summer 2005)

The Independent: "Patti Smith Rails Against Israel and U.S."
In her songs "Without Chains" and "Qana," which she first performed in London, Smith protests Israeli and American foreign policy. She speaks out against human rights violations and the killing of civilians abroad and raises awareness of the role the United States plays in such atrocities. (September 9, 2006)

Community Arts Network
The Community Arts Network is a project of Art in the Public Interest, a nonprofit based in North Carolina. Its website offers information about dance, literature, media arts, music, public art, theater and visual art, in addition to resources related to community art.

Founded in 2006, Groundswell is a non-commercial labor of love by a collective of artists and designers interested in creating work that addresses -- and aims to realize -- social justice and political transformation. The collective's blog has posts about submissions, ways to collaborate with Groundswell and information about activist art around the world.

Yes!: Art and Activism
Yes! magazine is a nonprofit publication that encourages people to build a just and sustainable world. The magazine's archives contain articles related to art and activism.


Patti Smith: Strange Messenger. David Greenberg and John W. Smith. (Philadelphia: Andy Warhol Museum, 2003)
This book catalogues Patti Smith's 2003 exhibit held at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, arranged in conjunction with the Andy Warhol Museum. The 60 works included in the exhibition were inspired by the events of September 11, 2001 and the Smith's war against intolerance.

On PBS and NPR


NewsHour: Patti Smith Reflects on the Life of Her Friend, Jim Carroll
It was Patti Smith who first encouraged Jim Carroll to blend his poetry with rock 'n' roll, bringing him on stage to perform his work with her band. He went on to form the Jim Carroll Band. Jeffrey Brown talks to Smith about her friend, who passed away in September 2009. (September 14, 2009)


Patti Smith: Music Artist Page
A collection of interviews, features and/or performances about Patti Smith archived at NPR Music.

Fresh Air: Patti Smith, All Covered Up
Since she began her recording career in the '70s, Patti Smith has never been shy about recording covers of her favorite songs, such as Van Morrison's "Gloria." Now she's released an album consisting entirely of other people's songs -- a dozen covers, originally recorded by acts as diverse as the Doors, Nirvana and the Rolling Stones, under the simple title Twelve. (May 7, 2007)

Fresh Air: Patti Smith Recognized as a Rock Legend
Singer and poet Patti Smith was inducted into the Rock and roll Hall of Fame on March 12, 2007. Smith got her start in the punk movement of the 1970s with the album Horses. This story was originally broadcast on June 24, 1996. (March 9, 2007).

Morning Edition: Intersections: Patti Smith, Poet Laureate of Punk
In the 1970s, Patti Smith hit the underground music scene with an ecstatic blend of free-form poetry and three-chord rock. The woman hailed as the "godmother of punk" credits her signature sound to lessons in free-verse defiance from 19th-century poet Arthur Rimbaud and 20th-century music legend Bob Dylan. Tracey Tanenbaum speaks with Smith for Intersections, a series on artists' influences. (April 12, 2004)