Patti Smith Poetry Workshop

Patti Smith Workshop

Much of Patti Smith’s work is free verse stream of consciousness so the first exercise focuses on that aspect.Free Writing from a line/lyric go with this line or find one of hers you like write for five minutes solidly this means no line breaks, no stopping, no worrying about handwriting, spelling, taking control of what you are writing just keep going for five minutes. Your starter line could be ‘’She’s a landmark of America’’ and you can include the words ‘’light’’, ‘’muck’’, ‘’killed’’, ‘’home’’, ‘’desire’’ you can repeat the starter line as a help to keep you going.

Borrowing structure: Star fever has lines of six words or less write a poem using this structure and borrowing her use of a phrase repeated and then altered in its repetition ‘’carve my face like a clock/alarm me, clock clock me’’

She often uses statements as in a useless death ‘’I am on the scaffold. What excitement!/What Glitter! What is going on?/ I know so little of this country’’ Write a poem using statements and questions which seem to be disconnected/disjointed

Confidence with a growl: What does Patti Smith mean to you? How did you first discover her/hear her work what does she mean to you now?

Poems used came from the resource below as they were credited I assume the information given is correct.

My poem from the first exercise is below I have typed it up almost entirely how it as written so you can see my process I will edit before the event.

‘’She’s a Landmark of America’’

She has never apologised for taking up space, for existing, for her cunt, for her hair, her flashing eyes that see you and know your flawed heart and the hurt you have wished on women. She is an illusion in your mind she is tall as a sky scraper she is a stone oracle carved in a modernist style she encroaches on the skyline she pierces the smog with her searchlight, eyes her breath is the wind. She would bend and swallow you and your whole lousy street. She is there on a bench human sized and enormous an eyelid blink between the two monument and woman who is emboldened by her decades of surviving you will never know if you are inspiration for a poem or song or muck in her all seeing eyes. You find your confidence killed by the set of her shoulders by the shrugs she gives her body could be home to you fortress of comfort it could be a bemoated castle you desire her kind looks.

stirred PS

Further reading on Patti Smith’s poetry can be found here:


The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.

Posted in Events, Feminist thinking

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The Stirred team at Reclaim the Night Manchester 2015
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