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Mar dei coralli

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  356 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In linked pieces Patti Smith 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, an ...more
Paperback, 90 pages
Published 1996 by Einaudi
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This is a most beautiful book, perfect in its own way, Patti Smith's poetic elegy for her friend, onetime lover and soulmate Robert Mapplethorpe, interspersed with a selection of his photographs, like meditations. As a writer, I'm in awe. The prologue sets the tone and the scene, with Morpheus, 'from a place apart' regarding his charge - 'a young man asleep within the cloth of a voyage, which is turning, ever so slowly, even as the widening skirt of an ecstatic.'
I read "Just Kids", now I need more Patti.

Update: I finished reading "The coral sea" a few days ago. I read it in spanish. I was beautiful and poetic, but hardly a story.
It's not like I expected it to be one, but it surprised me for the best how each chapter was a beautiful piece of art in itself.
You could read them separately and you would still get the most inspired and inspiring images.
I reacomend it as a poetry book, not a follow up to "We were kids" (Pattis Smith's previously released book
Absolutely beautiful.

I think, having recently read Just Kids and knowing a little about her story and Robert's it was even more poignant.

I borrowed this book from the library, but will be buying several copies - one for myself and a few for gifts. Ms. Smith's writing consistently liquefies me.

For example, from The Pedestal (pg. 56) Such tears filled him with revulsion. No one could enter a soul composed of tears, for one would surely drown.

I recommend this without reservation to anyone who enjoy
Rosemary Nissen-Wade
The title piece, a long prose poem, was written in 1996 after the death of Patti Smith's dear friend, the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. This 2012 reissue includes some other poems for him, and a preface he asked her to write for his book, Flowers.

It's the most exquisite and moving work. The use of language is extraordinary — heightened and unusual, yet at the same time clear and straightforward. A paradox!

There is nothing self-consciously writerly about it; rather she is making art, and doe
This book was not what I was expecting at all. The inside cover claims that "In The Coral Sea Smith beautifully recasts her grief, recapturing Mapplethorpe's life and giving us an evocative portrait of the man who was her friend." Okay...the author claims in the intro that the book was written in "a season in grief" so I was expecting some mournful prose written in a poetic fashion about this beloved artistic friend of hers who had died. What I got...was a strange disjointed story about a man on ...more
"Soñó. Durmió. No soñó en absoluto. En cambio, se adueñó de él una distante sensación de amor. Un campo de ojos que se mecían y se abrían cual bulbos. Y después nada. Nada en el jardín que llegaba hasta el mar. Salvo una flor de uno de aquellos bulbos. Un tulipán singular. Largo, solo y negro como una mancha en el sol."
Natasha Tsakiris
A beautiful, lyrical memoir honoring Patti's friend's Robert. Her writing reads like that of a Romantic meets a Modernist. The words are luscious and meaningful.
Stephen Ian Savage
A beautiful abstract, personal elegy by Patti Smith for her very close friend Robert Mapplethorpe. An interesting combination of prose and poetry (prosetry) winds Smith's sadness at losing a friend, Mapplethorpe's struggle for artistic perfection, and a sublime, romantic sentiment into a interesting exploration of artistry, the self, and the other.
The Coral Sea is Patty Smith's poetic elegy for her friend Robert Mapplethorpe, who "was destined to be ill, and part of him knew it (...) So he fled into the bowels of tedium disguised as adventure". Smith imagines him as "M", inhabiting an ocean-liner and searching the skies for the Southern Cross. It's a beautiful, touching memorial.
After finishing Just Kids, I pulled this off my shelf, where it has sat, inexplicably unread, for several years. I had the general idea that is was poetry; little did I know that it is also about Robert Mapplethorpe--a sort of prose poem retelling of his death??? Not sure if that's a good description as I just started it. But the point is I don't know if I can take it, fresh from the heartwrenching of Just Kids. I started crying reading the Prologue. Will try to soldier on, but may have to read ...more
Beautiful expression of her love and relationship/friendship with Mapplethorpe during and after his death, and a continuation of "Just Kids." Also a true poetic tribute to the artists journey through rough waters. And, highly recommend Just Kids (fantastic). Gotta love Patti. Everything she does is pretty amazing. She is not only a great musician, but she is a genuinely intimate writer, connecting you to the story/characters through beautiful, bare descriptions of life's raw moments that reach t ...more
Paul Bridgwater
On the one hand I think it's a fantastic project, and totally in line with Patti Smith's determination to live life as a ongoing sensual and spiritual project. On the other hand, the beat-like instance on infusing a deeper layer of meaning into a self-destructive life style of sex, drugs and art is a bit much. There are some wonderful lines in the book. How's this for a fusion of body and soul:

And all the muscles
Were contracting
And he was emerging
drenched and pink
and vibrant
the skin pulled back
Sophie Barloc
If you can't cry, poetry may be the best way.
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 as a whole, and fortunately it was a small thing and lent itself to doing so. It wasn't ground-breaking as far as the individual pieces were concerned, but very much all of a piece and held together nicely. Plus it's a very pretty little book, readable in a short sitting, and all its parts worked n ...more
Evelina Dimova
a book that is more so a collection of images and senses rather than a story; light, almost beckoning you to keep reading. patti smith once again shows that she is a master of the written word, making the reader submerge into the reality of this figurative voyage and come out of it transformed, or at least feeling something new, something intriguing.
Powerful, lyrical writing. A beautiful tribute to Robert Mapplethorpe which stands alongside her (auto)biography Just Kids.
Patti Smith is amazing. This collection of poetry was a beautiful tribute to Robert Mapplethorpe. I loved it.
Natalie Lovejoy
Not even close to her first... Just kids
Patti Smith has always seen herself as first and foremost a poet; although, interestingly enough, she's a better prose stylist and rock 'n' roller. This is especially apparent with "The Coral Sea" which gained a direct prose analogue (see: improvement) with Just Kids almost 15 years later where her obviously confusing relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe was given its proper story. Dealing with the death of a loved one is understandably difficult and for someone who considers themselves a poet ...more
Katie K
Oct 17, 2012 Katie K rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The world
Recommended to Katie by: Life
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Patti Smith (born Patricia Lee Smith on December 30, 1946) is an American singer-songwriter and poet. She was influential in the birth of the punk rock with her 1975 debut album Horses.
Called "Godmother of Punk" she integrated the beat poetry performance style with garage rock. Her allusions introduced 19th century French poetry to American teens, while her "unladylike" language defied the disco
More about Patti Smith...
Just Kids Woolgathering Early Work, 1970-1979 Complete Babel

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