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CIRCA presents a virtual Inauguration Day presentation by punk poet laureate, Patti Smith.

Featuring a specially recorded performance of ‘People Have The Power’ set against a montage of footage that pays homage to people and organisations, past and present, who have used their voice to help create a better future: Shirley Chisholm, Kamala Harris, Greta Thunberg, Naomi Wadler, The Soup Kitchen Holborn, The Emergency Designer Network and many more.
This specially created 30-minute virtual presentation features poetry, music, readings and an acoustic performance of ‘Because The Night’ by Thigh High (Tom Rasmussen and Hatty Carman) it is free to watch on the CIRCA YouTube channel at 20:21 GMT on the 20 January 2021. Stay safe, stay home.
'S NEXT PRESENTATION
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Tue
Wed
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Sun




Anne Imhof + Patti Smith, New Years Eve
Us 3, by Kai-Isaiah Jamal & Rene Matić, Jan 2020
The Divine Image by William Blake
Patti Smith, (William) Blake Life Mask, 2003
My Blakean Year, LIVE from the NYPL, 2010

01
Patti Smith, A New Year
Photographs from Patti Smith's first poetry reading
Patti Smith's First Poetry Performance, St. Mark’s [...]

02
Patti Smith, The Cup
Patti Smith celebrates Greta Thunberg's Birthday
Patti Smith, Devotion, 2017
Chapter 1 of Devotion

03
Patti Smith, A New Year
Paul Valéry, The Art of Poetry, Introduction by T.S [...]
Paul Valéry, The Art of Poetry, preamble

04
Patti Smith, A New Year
Patti Smith, Memorial Poem to my professor
Self-portrait by Patti Smith, 1969
Patti Smith, Frida Kahlo’s Crutches, Casa Azul, Co [...]

05
Patti Smith, A New Year
Patti Smith, Poetry Reading, 1975
Patti Smith, Horses, 1974
Patti Smith, Horses

06
Patti Smith, A New Year
Patti Smith, The Coral Sea, 2012
Photographs of handwritten original poems from The C [...]
Audio of Patti Smith reading The Coral Sea

07
Patti Smith, A New Year
Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe at The Chelsea H [...]
Chelsea Hotel, 1970, by Albert Scopin
Patti Smith in West Side Stories , 1972

08
Patti Smith, A New Year
WE MOVE CLOSER, Greta Bellamacina, Jan 9th, 2021
Ben Lerner, The Hatred of Poetry, 2016
Ben Lerner: No Art | Poetry, fiction, criticism, fic [...]

09
Patti Smith, A New Year
Patti Smith, Pissing in a river, original manuscript [...]
Patti Smith, A Small Entreaty, 1994
Patti Smith, Zug Island

10
Patti Smith, A New Year
Patti Smith, dylans dog, 1971
Bob Dylan & Patti Smith - Dark Eyes (1995) Live N.Y.

11
Patti Smith, A New Year
Anne Carson: On Corners, NYPL, 2018

12
Patti Smith, James Joyce Recital
James Joyce 80th anniversary
Progress Is Not Future: It Is Keeping Up w/ the Pres [...]
Robert Montgomery, Bone of Wood (billboard poem), 20 [...]

13
Patti Smith, A New Year
Patti Smith Reading List
Patti Smith on Authors She Loves

14
Patti Smith, A New Year
Oscar Wilde x Patti Smith

15
Patti Smith, A New Year
Y (for Robert Mapplethorpe), 1979 by Patti Smith
Mirror stage, Will Harris, 16th Jan, 2021

16
Patti Smith, A New Year
100% PLASTIC PEOPLE, Patti Smith and Ivan Král, Amn [...]
Plastic People Of The Universe

17
Patti Smith, A New Year
Ars Poetica, Horace, c.19 BC
Quintus Horatius Flaccus, The Art of Poetry images

18
Patti Smith, Just Kids Recital
Just Kids, Patti Smith, 11th anniversary
Pissing in a river, Patti Smith, 1976
Poem by Patti Smith, photography by Frank Stefanko
Star Fever, Patti Smith

19
Patti Smith, People Have The Power
Antonin Artaud, 1896 - 1948
Antonin Artaud: works on paper, Edited by Margit Row [...]

20
Patti Smith, A New Year
Eternity, Arthur Rimbaud, May 1872
Patti Smith: Poem about Arthur Rimbaud
Charlie Colville - Patti Smith Launches Us into a Ne [...]

21
Patti Smith, A New Year
Dolor Desvelado, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe [...]
A Small Entreaty, Patti Smith
The Mast is Down, Patti Smith

22
Patti Smith, A New Year
Patti Smith reading the forward from The One Inside.

23
Patti Smith, A New Year
Early Morning Dream, Patti Smith, 24 March 1972
A Useless Death, Patti Smith, 1972

24
Patti Smith, A New Year

25
Patti Smith, A New Year

26
Patti Smith, A New Year

27
Patti Smith, A New Year

28
Patti Smith, A New Year

29
Patti Smith, A New Year

30
Patti Smith, A New Year

31
BACK TO CALENDAR

CIRCA Calendar x Patti Smith

The CIRCA Calendar is a daily stream of supporting content that is led by a desire to tacitly inform each artist’s video work that gets screened on the Piccadilly Lights. This programme of content seeks to be impromptu and educative, and offer a new way of delving into the lives and practices of exhibiting artists.

For Patti Smith’s 'A New Year' the CIRCA Calendar for January 2021 will look at the world of poetry and the impact Smith has played on it. We will be unearthing special and rarely seen selections of poetry written by Smith over the past 50 years, including some of her very first published verses from 1972. You will also stumble across works by artists who have influenced her including Arthur Rimbaud, Bob Dylan, Antonin Artaud, William Blake, and the Rolling Stones. As is customary with the CIRCA Calendar, you will also come across reading lists which this month seek to explore and re-examine the art of poetry in all its defences and difficulties, including titles by Ben Lerner, Anne Carson, Paul Valéry and others. To top it off we will also be publishing new and specially commissioned poems by some of the disciplines leading writers.

JANUARY HIGHLIGHTS:


3rd

The Cup, for Greta Thunberg

9th
WE MOVE CLOSER by Greta Bellamacina

13th
Bones of Wood (billboard poem) by Robert Montgomery
James Joyce 80th anniversary

16th
Poetry commission by Will Harris

19th
Just Kids 11th anniversary

20th
A special commission by Patti Smith for the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

21th
Article by resident writer Charlie Colville

27th
Poetry commission by Rachael Allen

31st
The Resistance by Patti Smith


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ANNE IMHOF + PATTI SMITH | CIRCA NEW YEARS SPECIAL

At the cusp of midnight on New Years Eve 2020/2021 poet and musician Patti Smith planned to perform her song "My Blakean Year" on the Piccadilly Lights screen in London. The piece was dedicated to the immensely influential 18th century poet, painter and mystic William Blake. Like many events that eve the performance was postponed, however it remains available to watch above and online through the circa.art website. Smith tells us:

"Almost all the songs I record are collaborations but occasionally I write a little song myself. I hear the melody in my head and sit on the floor with my acoustic guitar. After a bit of struggle I work it out and bring it to my band.

I have worked on this song for a while. Reading a lot of William Blake as well as the wonderful Blake biography by Peter Ackroyd. His life was a testament of faith over strife. He suffered poverty humiliation and misunderstanding yet he continued to do his work and maintained a lifelong belief in his vision. He has served as a good example in facing my own difficulties and feeling a certain satisfaction in doing so." - Patti Smith

Smith's recital also celebrated the tenth anniversary of the same performance she first staged at The New York Public Library on April 29, 2010

 

 

PLAY

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm.  And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty.  The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow.  The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.
 
The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then  ascended deep into that same blue.
 
Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth.  The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful.  And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.
 
The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 


The Divine Image

To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
All pray in their distress,
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
Is God our Father dear;
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
Is man, His child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart;
Pity, a human face;
And Love, the human form divine:
And Peace the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine:
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew.
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell,
There God is dwelling too.

by William Blake (from Songs of Innocence) , 1789


                                                
Patti Smith | My Blakean Year | LIVE from the NYPL
PLAY

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

Patti Smith's commission A New Year with CIRCA marks the 50th anniversary of her first poetry recital at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, New York City, on 10 February 1971. Smith used guitarist Lenny Kaye to accompany her poems after asking him if he could “play a car crash with an electric guitar.” She described the performance as “a bit controversial because we had sort of desecrated the hall of poetry with an electric guitar.” This controversial mix of poetry and rock ‘n’ roll would soon become Smith’s trademark style and her path to recognition. For her first performance, she read a poem called “Oath” which begins, “Christ died for somebody’s sins but not mine.” This line, with “Christ” changed to “Jesus,” would become the opening of her most famous album Horses four years later. Smith continued to read occasionally at St. Mark’s Poetry Project while she established herself in the music world.

PLAY

The Cup

If we be blind, if we turn from Nature, the garden of the soul, she will turn on us. In place of songbird, the shrill cry of the locust devouring the harvest, the terrible crackling of the blazing rainforest. The bushfires. The animals screaming. Peatlands smoldering, seas rising, cathedrals flooding, the Arctic shelf melting, the Siberian wood burning, the Barrier Reef bleached as the bones of forgotten saints. If we be blind, failing in our supplication, species will die, bee and butterfly driven to extinction, all of Nature nothing more
than an empty husk, the ghost
of an abandoned hive.

One year ago today Patti Smith shared a poem on social media wishing Greta Thunberg a happy birthday as the environmental activist turned 17. The final lines of Smith’s message (“who stood today, as every Friday, refusing to be neutral) are in reference to Thunberg’s weekly appearances at the ‘Fridays for Future’ protests outside the Swedish parliament.


This is
Greta Thunberg, turning
seventeen today, asking
for no accolade, no gifts,
save we not be neutral.
 The Earth knows its kind,
just as all deities, just as
animals and the healing
spring. Happy birthday
to Greta, who stood today,
as every Friday, refusing
to be neutral.

By Patti Smith, for Greta Thunberg, January 3rd 2020


                                                
How to find a voice?

Patti Smith, Devotion, 2017

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, Patti Smith offers a detailed account of her own creative process, inspirations, and unexpected connections.

Smith first presents an original and beautifully crafted tale of obsession -- a young skater who lives for her art, a possessive collector who ruthlessly seeks his prize, a relationship forged of need both craven and exalted. She then takes us on a second journey, exploring the sources of her story. We travel through the South of France to Camus's house, and visit the garden of the great publisher Gallimard where the ghosts of Mishima, Nabokov, and Genet mingle. Smith tracks down Simone Weil's grave in a lonely cemetery, hours from London, and winds through the nameless Paris streets of Patrick Modiano's novels. Whether writing in a café or a train, Smith generously opens her notebooks and lets us glimpse the alchemy of her art and craft in this arresting and original book on writing.

PLAY

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

PLAY

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

PLAY

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

Patti Smith, Horses, 1974

In 1974 Patti Smith made history with her first album Horses, a punk poetry album. Her lyrics and her influences from beat poetry brought intellectuality and feminism to the genre, predominantly masculine. Her androgynous, scruffy, “unfeminine” style, was challenging and revolutionary. Though born in an insular downtown milieu, Smith’s view was vast, conducting the poetry of the past—of Rimbaud, the Beats, and rock and roll—into an uncertain future, through the nascent medium of punk rock. The album is “closely associated with the beginning of something,” and yet is “so concerned with endings”: the loss of Jimi Hendrix (at whose studio Smith recorded), and of “other departed counterculture heroes like Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Brian Jones” writes Mac Randall.

She thought of herself as a poet who “got sidetracked” by music. “When I was young,” Smith says, “all I wanted was to write books and be an artist.” But poetry was always central to her work; Horses, she says, “evolved organically” from her first poetry reading, four years earlier, at St. Mark’s Church, alongside Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and other luminaries.

PLAY

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

Patti Smith, The Coral Sea, 2012

Through the linked pieces of The Coral Sea, Patti Smith honours her comrade-in-arms Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989). She tells the story of a man on an ocean 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 from a young man to a mature artist; his close relationship with patron and friend, Sam Wagstaff; his years surviving AIDS; and his ascent into death. The Coral Sea is Smith's lyrically compelling recasting of her grief to recapture Mapplethorpe's life in the past and his future in his art. Rich in evocative details, it shows the man beneath the persona.

PLAY

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

The Chelsea Hotel, New York City, 1970

Located on West 23rd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues, Hotel Chelsea is firmly part of American history. Originally opened in 1884, Mark Twain, Allen Ginsburg, Andy Warhol, Arthur Miller, Leonard Cohen, and the power couple Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe were among the artists, writers, musicians, and poets who have called the hotel home.

The film producer Albert Scopin writes about Smith and Mapplethorpe the following: "Patti fascinated me from the very start. She really was completely different to any other human I had ever met before. She was pure energy. Everything was an experiment and everything was to be understood. Robert, on the other hand, was a cool cynic, yet the two stood united in their fundamental aim to get to the top and I am incredibly pleased to know that they really made it!" - Albert Scopin, 2014

And below a rare TV film from 1972. Patti is in love with New York, it's art and artists. Will she one day be a star? Jonathan Miller returns to the city where he once starred in Beyond the Fringe. A freewheeling portrait, through two pairs of eyes, of the city that can make or break you.

PLAY

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

WE MOVE CLOSER

By Greta Bellamacina

9th January, 2021


We move closer to the water,
we move closer to the nest hilt workings. 

We move closer to the second inn of imaginings,  
we move closer to the open clouds set in the desolate and the unbelonged. 

We move closer to the fallen graves lamp’ing the fields, 
we move closer to the sticks struck by rain in a row of strange celebration light.

We move closer to the sun kneeling on our toes like a small dog, 
we move closer to the idea of the modern hours shut up in the rituals of the sea.

EXPAND
PLAY

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

PLAY

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

Patti is a great fan of Bob's songwriting, and vice versa. Patti's poem "Dylan's Dog" is about a dream Patti had of Dylan and his dog. Patti listened to Dylan's World Gone Wrong over and over while writing songs after her husband Fred's death. She covers Dylan's "Wicked Messenger" on Gone Again, and several critics have pointed to Dylan's influence on other songs on the album.

Patti writes:

"In the Spring of 1971, upon awakening, me and Sam Shepard discovered that we had both dreamed of Bob Dylan. Mine was so unusual that Sam suggested that I write about it. I wrote a kind of nursery song which I have performed through the years. Each time I am transported to that very morning, when the winger dog of Bob Dylan flew into my dreams."


dylans dog 


have you seen
dylans dog
it got wings
it can fly
if you speak
of it to him
its the only
time dylan
cant look you in the eye

have you held
dylans snake
it rattles like a toy
it sleeps in the grass
it coils in his hand
it hums and it strikes out
when dylan cries out
when dylan cries out

have you pressed
to your face
dylans bird
dylans bird
it lies on dylans hip
trembles inside of him
it drops upon the ground
it rolls with dylan round
its the only one
who comes
when dylan comes

have you seen
dylans dog
it got wings
it can fly
when it lands
like a clown
hes the only
thing allowed
to look dylan in the eye


Patti Smith, 1971


                                                
Bob Dylan & Patti Smith - Dark Eyes (1995) Live N.Y.
PLAY

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

Anne Carson is a poet, essayist, professor of Classics, and translator. “In the small world of people who keep up with contemporary poetry,” wrote Daphne Merkin in the New York Times Book Review, Carson “has been cutting a large swath, inciting both envy and admiration.”

Eight years after Patti Smith performed My Blakean Year at the New York Public Library in 2010, Anne Carson delivered an illustrated lecture on the same stage, “On Corners.” Presenting the a range of texts and figures both classic and contemporary, Carson will touch on inspirations from Homer’s Odyssey, Aristotle, and Sophokles, to Samuel Beckett, Borges, James Turrell, and many more. This is one to watch!

Anne Carson: On Corners | 2018-12-07 | LIVE from the NYPL
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A Flower Given To My Daughter, James Joyce
Frail the white rose and frail are
Her hands that gave
Whose soul is sere and paler
Than time's wan wave.

Rosefrail and fair, yet frailest
A wonder wild
In gentle eyes thou veilest,
My blueveined child.
 

Bahnhofstrasse, James Joyce

The eyes that mock me sign the way
Whereto I pass at eve of day.

Grey way whose violet signals are
The trysting and the twining star.

Ah star of evil! star of pain!
Highhearted youth comes not again

Nor old heart's wisdom yet to know
The signs that mock me as I go.
 

Today marks the 80th anniversary of one of the most influential and innovative writers of the 20th century and a great influence to Patti Smith: James Joyce. The Irish poet and novelist was the author of the short story collection Dubliners (1914) and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Ulysses (1922), and Finnegans Wake (1939). His collections of poetry include Chamber Music (1907) and Pomes Penyeach (1927).

PLAY

The poem Poem #2 was written in 1977 by Smith and Hell, and, according to a statement on Richard Hell's website, "printed on a flyer given away at a concert by the Smith Group and the Voidoids in 1978 (and its last word really is 'I'm'".

BONES OF WOOD (billboard poem)

By Robert Montgomery

13th January 2021

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A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

Patti Smith on Authors She Loves

Below is a selected reading list of the books Smith mentions in her memoir M Train (2015) — some in direct and effusive homages, others obliquely, all lovingly. What emerges is a self-portrait of a creatively voracious mind, and glimpse into her wonderful view of literature.

After Nature (public library) by W.G. Sebald


Excerpt:
“At one time the three lengthy poems in this slim volume had such a profound effect on me that I could hardly bear to read them. Scarcely would I enter their world before I’d be transported to a myriad of other worlds. Evidences of such transports are crammed onto the endpapers as well as a declaration I once had the hubris to scrawl in a margin — I may not know what is in your mind, but I know how your mind works.

Max Sebald! … He sees, not with eyes, and yet he sees. He recognizes voices within silence, history within negative space. He conjures ancestors who are not ancestors, with such precision that the gilded threads of an embroidered sleeve are as familiar as his own dusty trousers.

[…]

What a drug this little book is; to imbibe it is to find oneself presuming his process. I read and feel that same compulsion; the desire to possess what he has written, which can only be subdued by writing something myself.”


The Thief’s Journal (public library) by Jean Genet

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (public library) by Haruki Murakami

A Wild Sheep Chase (public library) by Haruki Murakami

Kafka on the Shore (public library) by Haruki Murakami

Dance Dance Dance (public library) by Haruki Murakami

2666 (public library) by Roberto Bolaño

Amulet (public library) by Roberto Bolaño

The First Man (public library) by Albert Camus


Excerpt:
“A photograph of Albert Camus hung next to the light switch. It was a classic shot of Camus in a heavy overcoat with a cigarette between his lips, like a young Bogart, in a clay frame made by my son, Jackson… My son, seeing him every day, got the idea that Camus was an uncle who lived far away. I would glance up at him from time to time as I was writing.”


The Divine Comedy (public library) by Dante Alighieri

The Story of Davy Crockett (public library) by Enid Meadowcroft

The Little Lame Prince (public library) by Rosemary Wells

Ariel (public library) by Sylvia Plath


Excerpt:

“My copy of Ariel [was] given to me when I was twenty. Ariel became the book of my life then, drawing me to a poet with hair worthy of a Breck commercial and the incisive observational powers of a female surgeon cutting out her own heart. With little effort I visualized my Ariel perfectly. Slim, with faded black cloth, that I opened in my mind, noting my youthful signature on the cream endpaper. I turned the pages, revisiting the shape of each poem.”


The Master and Margarita (public library) by Mikhail Bulgakov

Winter Trees (public library) by Sylvia Plath

Four Major Plays (public library) by Henrik Ibsen

After-Dinner Declarations (public library) by Nicanor Parra

Letters from Iceland (public library) by W.H. Auden

The Petting Zoo (public library) by Jim Carroll


Quote:

“Essential to anyone in search of concrete delirium”


Tractatus Logico (public library) by Ludwig Wittgenstein

A Dog of Flanders (public library) by Ouida

The Prince and the Pauper (public library) by Mark Twain

The Blue Bird (public library) by Maurice Maeterlinck

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (public library) by Margaret Sidney

Little Women (public library) by Louisa May Alcott

Through the Looking-Glass (public library) by Lewis Carroll

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (public library) by Betty Smith

The Glass Bead Game (public library) by Hermann Hesse

PLAY

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

When Oscar Wilde (October 16, 1854–November 30, 1900) was incarcerated for being homosexual, he set out to be reborn within the walls of the infamous Reading Prison and recorded that quest for rebirth on the hundred pages of a stunning 50,000-word letter to Sir Alfred “Bosie” Douglas — the love of Wilde’s life and the subject of his exquisite love letters. Titled De Profundis, it chronicled Wilde’s effort to transmute his suffering into a spiritual journey toward self-transcendence.

In 2016, the notorious prison opened its doors to the public for the first time and the London-based arts organisation Artangel invited artists and writers to respond to Wilde’s stirring letter. Among them was Smith, who read from the original text and ended with a stunning vocal performance of her fittingly themed song “Wing.”

v
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A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

Mirror stage

By Will Harris

16th January, 2021

I made the mistake of needing to pee
& then deciding to shave & looking
myself in the mirror, features re-aligned

to form a pattern that was I-not-I. The
tap stopped running but my hand could
feel the water scalding. I was holding

onto a small car. But what seemed
wrong was that you reached across the
I-not-I. Honest, you said. We were cops &

robbers, planning a new heist. Don’t
worry, I’ll be back. You were meant to act
as lookout. I-not-I. Then water started

rising from all sides. We wedged a table up
against the door & waited, wading knee-
deep through our room. Don’t worry. Don’t

worry. There was a small car in your hand.

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A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

PLAY

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

PLAY

Today is the 11th anniversary of Just Kids, Patti Smith's memoir documenting her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe being published.

"I didn't write it to be cathartic," she noted. "I wrote it because Robert asked me to… Our relationship was such that I knew what he would want and the quality of what he deserved. So that was my agenda for writing that book. I wrote it to fulfil my vow to him, which was on his deathbed. In finishing, I did feel that I'd fulfilled my promise."

Chelsea Hotel footage filmed in 1972 by Albert Scopin
 

Today is the 11th anniversary of Just Kids, Patti Smith's memoir documenting her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe. "I didn't write it to be cathartic," she noted. "I wrote it because Robert asked me to… Our relationship was such that I knew what he would want and the quality of what he deserved. So that was my agenda for writing that book. I wrote it to fulfil my vow to him, which was on his deathbed. In finishing, I did feel that I'd fulfilled my promise."

Patti Smith, Inauguration Day Presentation

Today is a resounding day for the United States of America as Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are inaugurated into office. In celebration, CIRCA presents a virtual presentation by punk poet laureate, Patti Smith.

Featuring a specially recorded performance of ‘People Have The Power’ set against a montage of footage paying homage to people and organisations, past and present, who have used their voice to help create a better future: Shirley Chisholm; Kamala Harris; Greta Thunberg; Naomi Wadler; The Soup Kitchen, Holborn; The Emergency Designer Network, and many more.

This specially created 30-minute presentation features poetry, music, readings and an acoustic performance of ‘Because The Night’ by Thigh High (Tom Rasmussen and Hatty Carman) it is free to watch on the CIRCA YouTube channel at precisely 20:21GMT on the 20 January 2021.

“It’s a beautiful night, we have a new President and Vice President and our democracy seems to be quite intact and just wish everyone a better year. 2020 has been a Blakean year but I think the glad day is coming. This performance goes to everyone, it’s for everyone all over the world. Fred wrote it so that it might be embraced and it might inspire people globally, and it has. His wishes came true and may the wishes ring out in the New Year.”


Eternity

It has been found again.
What? – Eternity.
It is the sea fled away 
With the sun.

Sentinel soul,
Let us whisper the confession 
Of the night full of nothingness 
And the day on fire.

From humain approbation,
From common urges
You diverge here
And fly off as you may.

Since from you alone,
Satiny embers,
Duty breathes 
Without anyone saying: at last.

Here is no hope,
No orietur.
Knowledge and fortitude,
Torture is certain.

It has been found again.
What? – Eternity.
It is the sea fled away
With the sun.

Arthur Rimbaud, May 1872


                                                
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A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

[ Transcript of above ]

à dix heures le 10 Novembre 1891
le poète Jean Arthur Rimbaud
rencontra la FIN de son
adventure Terrestre
A.R.

devotions. to Arthur Rimbaud. he was young. he was so damn young. he was so god damned. Drunk with the Blood of Baby dolls. Mad laughter. power. running neck and neck with his vision was his demon. Sooner Stick his dick up the baby dolls ass. Shove pins in the heads of innocents. Bad seed with a golden spleen. Ha Ha. he has the last laugh. Blonde Hairs raveling in your vital breath. White hydrogen. Rimbaud. Savior of the forgotten scientists: the alchemists. alchemy. of The. The Word. The power of The Word. Love Rays. bullets on the alter. obscene ceremonies. leave no proof clues. gold. behind. Rimbaud blessé Rimbaud wounded Rimbaud: angel with sleeves of blue hair. [NO] light without shadow. Rimbaud was a rolling stone are all prophets persecuted? He was so damn young.

Patti Smith: Poem about Arthur Rimbaud. A clip from the Steven Sebring's 2008 documentary "Patti Smith - Dream Of Life"

Patti Smith Launches Us into a New Year with CIRCA

by Charlie Colville
21st January, 2021

A new year, a new start, and a new artist bringing in 2021 on CIRCA’s screens.

With the opening of the new year comes the announcement of better things and events to look forward to – including the extension of CIRCA for another twelve months! CIRCA’s new programme c. 20:21 is set to continue their mission to democratise art for the public on a global scale into the new year.

Created last year as a means of reconnecting the public with art and exhibitions during the pandemic, CIRCA allows for artists to showcase their work and ideas in the form of a two-minute video on the Piccadilly Lights, one of London’s most famous landmarks. Every month will see a different artist take to the screen, showcasing a two-minute video that expands on their practice and the messages they want to convey to the public. 

To keep pace with the changing year, each video will be shown at 20:21GMT every night, breaking the usual stream of commercials and advertisements and creating a live exhibition experience. For those unable to make it to London, each video is streamed and archived on CIRCA’s website.

Breaking away from previous months’ content, CIRCA have dedicated January 2021 to poetry and the written word. Poetry hasn’t always been considered highly as an artform, and in recent decades has been criticised for being “boring” or “elitist”. By providing a space for poetry this month, CIRCA brings poetry further into the contemporary spotlight and expands the outlets for conversation available between artist and onlooker.

American singer-songwriter and punk rock legend Patti Smith leads the month with a selection of poetry both old and new, starting with a music performance to bring in the new year and set a hopeful tone for the rest of 2021. Although a pioneer of the 70s punk rock movement and an award-winning author, Smith will be using her collaboration with CIRCA to promote her work as a poet.

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A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

PLAY

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

Listen to Patti Smith reading the forward from The One Inside.

The first work of long fiction from the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard — a tour de force of memory, mystery, death, and life.

This searing, extraordinarily evocative narrative opens with a man in his house at dawn, surrounded by aspens, coyotes cackling in the distance as he quietly navigates the distance between present and past. More and more, memory is overtaking him: in his mind he sees himself in a movie-set trailer, his young face staring back at him in a mirror surrounded by light bulbs. In his dreams and in visions he sees his late father—sometimes in miniature, sometimes flying planes, sometimes at war. By turns, he sees the bygone America of his childhood: the farmland and the feedlots, the railyards and the diners—and, most hauntingly, his father's young girlfriend, with whom he also became involved, setting into motion a tragedy that has stayed with him. His complex interiority is filtered through views of mountains and deserts as he drives across the country, propelled by jazz, benzedrine, rock and roll, and a restlessness born out of exile. The rhythms of theater, the language of poetry, and a flinty humor combine in this stunning meditation on the nature of experience, at once celebratory, surreal, poignant, and unforgettable.

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

Patti Smith, A New Year, 2021, Piccadilly Screen, London

The two South London-raised artists, spoken word poets and ‘chosen’ siblings Rene Matić and Kai-Isaiah Jamal came together before the end of 2020 to write four letters to each other entitled ‘Us 3’. These poetic correspondences were written in response to Patti Smith’s poetry and her ‘A New Year’ with CIRCA for January 2021. In light of the many social, political and environmental concerns that have taken place over the past twelve months, ‘Us 3’ and ‘A New Year’ together convey stories of optimism and kinship for a disparate world, and make a call for radical action in the face of so much imbalance.



Us 3

Written by Kai-Isaiah Jamal & Rene Matić
1st January, 2021




Kai,

I dreamed of freedom like Patti.

like we knew it was good

freedom

Freedom like calm like she said freedom like freedom like no fear like fist in
the air freedom

like success that comes from doing it like

freedom of space

space to work space to love like fruit like freedom to not dream it but be it freedom

like being understood like making sense like this is my dance space freedom

sweet freedom

endless materials freedom like roof tops like poets and paint like freedom

freedom like listening and being listened to

like freedom as desire as writing and thought and being alone and being with her and being with freedom

like rhythm and my hips and yours and strong hands freedom

a vase of freedom a glass of freedom a shot of freedom

like dirty like just as you want it as you feel it freedom like your bedroom with the door shut and our living room with

the window open

freedom

like before we knew it was white

disgusting

freedom

deserving freedom

delicate freedom

freedom like dub like blue beat like lovers rock rock steady punk rock rock and roll freedom like obviously

Ascending

like she says

and obviously running running without lungs like lungs don’t exist so we could just run freedom

and chain smoke freedom

and sit and rest and obviously birds and obviously flying and obviously balloons but also standing and stillness and

sleeping

and everybody freedom and nobody freedom and no body

beyond body beyond and

breaking through to the other side and the other side and the other side and the other side and the other side and the

other side and

I’ve got other sides freedom

No capital letters no countries no flags

no gods no mothers or whatever your tattoo says

but absolutely mothers

loving mothers

and maybe even gods

gods as lovers as fingers as gods

build ups and crescendo’s and

free money freedom awake in the night freedom

no years no minutes no seconds freedom no gender freedom

steel toe capped boots and knuckle dusters and knives in pockets freedom

no meds freedom

no trauma

freedom

they can’t hurt you now can’t hurt you now can’t hurt you now can’t hurt you now freedom

no truths

no traitors

freedom

plentiful, like she says and she says it twice freedom

formless freedom

falling failing flailing freedom

feel free to stop me freedom

Kai freedom
sky freedom
my freedom
bye freedom
hi freedom
high freedom

why freedom
because is it a lie, freedom?

‘baffled silence’ freedom Patti?

Patti?

____
____

Oh teeny one.

I believe I should have answers as a sibling, in the same duty I should have words as a poet.

But my whole life I’ve known the vastness of nothing. How sometimes to be nameless and numberless and motherless, thus to belong to nothing that knows your name or the scent of what it was before. Is the only way to be free.
How sometimes that does encompass all of the words
that do not belong to our tongue yet.

Freedom, do be what it be.

Anything can be synonym for it
If you believe in all of the words enough —
Especially the ones that do not belong to your tongue yet.

That are breach and trying to be birthed or waiting to be born.

And if it is the right to write the wrong words,
Then freedom is all of the things you are shouting and also the whisper of gaps between.
Freedom is whatever escapes from the gap in my teeth
In my first or final breath.
Freedom is my breath and how it does not ask to be. To be.

Freedom is us. Us just being kids, being just kids and kids forever.
Because freedom is forever which means it might not be here.
Might need to be somewhere a little more eternal.
Where a son I can be the boy the beast and the butterfly.
But that’s cool baby, that’s okay because freedom is today.
And also tomorrow and also as long as our souls keep living.

How long a soul been in a body?
How many bodies has it been in before it’s been in ours?
How many parts of souls belong to us that are not our own?

I wonder if my soul has ever lived inside your body.
I am sure it has because freedom is comfortable. I feel comfortable least but most with you.
When we are talking about a woman that lives in both of our souls
And her own — all at the same time.
Makes you think of a holy trinity. 3 always feels more like freedom. Unless it’s 3 the mandem.
2 is just too tied and tethered and ankles make me nervous

Like freedom is the geography of your body
But only sometimes.
Remember when I was gonna move the mountains?
Freedom is the knife being in the other hand.

Freedom is the knives in pockets
Becoming flowers.
Freedom is the knives in pockets
Becoming flowers.

Freedom is everything being a poem
everything being something else.
fists becoming knives becoming flowers becoming cocks freedom is believing nothing of it at all.
But trusting you.
and trusting Patti.
and trusting that my liberation
is in your little legs
And my long little legs.

And look I’m running

And not away.
And look we are running
Look we are jumping and dancing toward’s the sound.

I’ll meet you both there. We’ll taste it I promise.

The vinyl hysterically screams.

____
____

my just kid kai,

thank you for getting back

i don’t have gaps between my teeth,
i used to though,
maybe
i gave all the gaps to my dad.
but that is for another day
another year
‘unblemished by clouds’

we write so much like her, enit?
maybe tonight i’ll dress like her, enit?
white shirt black tie

kai

perhaps that is all a soul is is
similarity familiarity freedom
family

have you ever bought a record from a charity shop and found the previous owners name on the sleeve? i like that
that is a body that’s been

there is someone else’s name on my ‘easter’ album. there was someone else’s name on you for a while

likkle freedom

vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore freedom

rimbaud said something about us all once
‘a thousand dreams within me softly burn’
like chidera’s rose petal joints
like paris is burning
like
when silver spoons aren’t there at least knives are
or fists
or flowers
or freedom

it was edgar allen poe that said
‘and all i loved
i loved alone’
and this is patti for me
for you
when we’ve been lonely

and oh god

we are so often lonely

and when we are lonely
we look for things to love
and so we find our 3
3 always feels more like freedom

It’s funny you mention our legs because you look so much like legs to me every part of you has the ability to move
freedom

so let’s move
like we moved that day so separately so together
i think i was 17 or something
field day
freedom
2015 freedom
2021 freedom

happy new year baby


____
____

Even when your ears aren’t listening,
Your body is.
I told Maggie the other day, whilst you were in the bath
that I love being called a kid or kiddo.

Makes me feel like I belong there

[right there]

in someone’s mouth.
Even if they don’t have a gap like mine.

Being called home.

That’s all I ever write about init?
[home]

Making it or shaping it or breaking it or ruining it or reclaiming it or not having it or coming to yours and taking up some space.
I keep all my bags half-packed like i’m going somewhere
Everything in piles ready to throw in cases —

Always.

I am always packing a bag. I am always in preparation for what is to come.
I am already fist up, tenderly at times.

Isn’t freedom just unpacking your bags?
For ever.
For forever
or some time that feels a little like it.

I have. I also write notes in most records, in hope that one day someone will find it.
Maybe then I have always been writing for you, unknowingly but earnestly.

All in preparation for this.
Us
The holy trinity standing in Victoria park
2k15.

I had enough time to drop my backpack
Into Jem’s tree house that day.
And all I had was the money in my pocket,
the tobacco at the bottom of the dark green pouch
and a hand loosely in mine.

And there was even less in the backpack
nothing to unpack, really no purpose.
Which felt so fitting. I was carrying a lot of dead weight that summer.

But I went freely into it;
Owning nothing.

Owned by nothing,
with a backwards bruised heart.

Patti says
‘i don’t do nothing perfect’
‘i only fuck up perfect’
on stage
And I know what it is to be home.

Red stripe in black hand.
Surrounded by so much white.
But compromised no green below my feet. Stood my ground to see.
Because if anyone does black and white
It’s Patti right?
And Robert.
And white shirts.
And black ties.
And dark rooms.
And me and you Rene.

Im gonna write
‘Baby Rudeboy’ on my Horses cover
Blood is just permanent ink. You my blood.

Freedom is marking what’s ours.
I would have always found you. We have always been an arm stretch away. Two sides of a stage.

Le monde est à nous.

We know who said it best:

“Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves.”