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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  374 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Hardcover, 202 pages
Published 1978 by G. P. Putnam's Sons
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  374 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Rebecca McNutt
This book has everything, quite literally everything, from drawings and sketches to vivid, nostalgic prose and poetry. I'm a huge fan of Patti Smith's music (I've got her album Horses on vinyl), but I hadn't read this book until now, and I'm glad I did.
Dec 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: rimbaugh, new-york-scene punk historians
Upon finding this book tucked away in a dusty antique store many years ago, it felt like I had struck gold. A first edition, out of print, collection of Patti Smith's poetical works. I devoured neo boy, the son of a neck rilke, and the pseudo epic munich, but was unsatisfied by the overall collection. At least, initially.

Recently I picked Babel up again and began to appreciate her work in the written form. I was unsatisfied initially by the way her words laid lifelessly on the pages, but this co
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, music
I remember seeing Patti Smith in person at the Licorice Pizza record store with my high school boyfriend and then seeing the Patti Smith Group at the Hollywood Palladium. Such great memories and this is an amazing read from a gifted poet.
Perry Whitford
Short poetic works about friends and freedom from the high poetess of punk Patti Smith, highly indebted to William Burroughs in both style and content, only without the buggery.

Plenty of energy and spirit, but ultimately a collection of sounds and furies signifying nothing much without the additional benefit of the band.

Well, she did call it 'Babel'.
Sep 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: art, poetry, music
I checked out this book because lately I've been really obsessed with Patti Smith. It's practically cliche to say so at this point, but her music really does capture a certain NYC feeling in a way nobody else does. And of course, her lyrics are often really great. Lately, I've been really into the lyrics of her song, "Piss Factory," which was originally a poem and one of the first she read after she moved here. It's really long so I won't post it here and it definitely has a lot of flaws in it, ...more
Aug 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Patti Smith fans
Shelves: poetry, punk
This is a kooky book of poetry by Patti Lee Smith, embellished with family photos, drawings, and at least one Robert Mapplethorpe picture that I think I recognize. Stream of consciousness is probably the best way to describe most of her poetry. This book is of interest to fans of her music, particularly because of the many references to ideas that became song lyrics. I don't think everything she does is art, and sometimes I lose patience with her, but I admire Smith for her unabashed enthusiasm ...more
May 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Patti Smith is a true American artist and though her poetry tends to be more like an American Rimbaud, crude, poignant, and funny, she is not for everyone. The godmother of punk she is now in her 60's and still remains articulate and true to her artform.
Jayne Ryder
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: prose-poetry
The language of the ecstatic - she's iconoclastic and never afraid of her own emotions - had this book for years and still love it! Must get a copy of Just Kids
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
favorite book of poetry.
Feb 05, 2020 rated it liked it
i love patti smith. i think she's a really interesting artist.*

*i would prefer for her to not have used racial slurs
Kyle Bolan
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can't recommend her writing or music enough.
Dec 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Published only as a first edition in 1978, "Babel" is a collection of poetry, prose, and stream of consciousness writing. With inspiration drawn from Rimbaud and the Beats, Smith paints a unique portrait of late 70s New York City.

Rock music, sex, and Smith's life are graphically and beautifully illustrated. Smith's first album "Horses" was just three years earlier. Some of the writing in this book later appeared as spoken word monologues on her albums including "Babelogue" which appears on her
Mar 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.(not hurt)
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again.

The Tempest, Act III, sc. ii 135-43
Jessie McMains
This is the first time I’ve read this book all the way through in nearly two decades, and I’m bummed that it didn’t stand the test of time for me. There are still some beautiful lines and it was still formative enough for me that I’m keeping it on my favorites list—but I’m taking my rating from five stars down to three because a lot of the poems/pieces in it are cringey or clumsy to me now.
Dec 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Read this book when it came out. I carried this around with me all the time it seems. I remember it being beautiful, magical prose/poetry. I was a huge patti fan at the time, and have still not totally deserted her music. horses is brilliant rock overflowing with poetic entergy, which overflows into this, book. I really should get this off the shelf and re-read it to see if it holds up.
Daniel Iván
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Not sure I had the best translation available, but I got to say the neo kid adventures and the general sense of experimentation on this book just got me. I truly dig how many moments and voices from the late 60's and the early 70's are present on Babel. Exciting poetry, images, art.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes poetry, warrior womyn, Sam Shepherd devotees
Recommended to Gusmenary by: David Puskivech- the somewhat hard nosed stage administrator at
There's something strangely magical and wreckless about Patti Smith's writings. An eclectic grouping of phrases and themes from space to a kind of sandherin/arabia/morroco type feel- with the brazen indecency of her music. It's lyrical, beautiful and sad. I highly reccomend it.
Stacy Fetters
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Patti Smith is a punk rock goddess and an idol of all girls wanting to be a badass.
She opens up a piece of my brain and heart that I didn't know existed. Like hitting a brick wall of realness.
She makes me love in an entire new way.
Dave Naz
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've always loved this book. Got me through some tough times.
Sep 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Sublimely mystical.
marie monroe
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
nice. especially nice if you like her music. the images are a little punk-dated now perhaps, but fun.
Dana Jerman
Dec 29, 2009 rated it liked it
P is a wordplay artist. This doesn't come across so much in her music. There's only enough room(s) for art every place.
Jamie  Ruiz
Mar 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
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Jan 05, 2009
Todd Glaeser
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Jul 26, 2013
Michael Rosenbaum
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Sep 14, 2014
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Jul 25, 2012
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Jan 26, 2017
Deb Balzer
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Jan 01, 2012
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Jun 07, 2017
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PATTI SMITH is a writer, performer, and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary merging of poetry and rock. She has released twelve albums, including Horses, which has been hailed as one of the top one hundred albums of all time by Rolling Stone.

Smith had her first exhibit of drawings at the Gotham Book Mart in 1973 and has been represented by the Robert Miller Ga

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Punk rock legend, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, award-winning writer, photographer, activist, and all-around Renaissance woman Patti Smith is...
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“Everything comes down so pasteurized
everything comes down 16 degrees
they say your amplifier is too loud
turn your amplifier down
are we high all alone on our knees
memory is just hips that swing
like a clock
the past projects fantastic scenes
tic/toc tic/toc tic/toc
fuck the clock!”
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