Go Rimbaud…and do the Watusi

We’ll be comparing this week’s scheduled reading, Patti Smith’s Just Kids, with Dorothy Day’s autobiography The Long Loneliness. The juxtaposition was loosely planned; the affinity between these works astonishingly rich: shrewdly detailed accounts of Lower Manhattan’s bohemia in the 1960s/early 70s and 1920s/early 30s, respectively. These two were tough-minded, consummately pragmatic visionaries, albeit with a taste for Rimbaud and his twentieth-century re-incarnations.

Originally published January 27, 2011.


7 thoughts on “Go Rimbaud…and do the Watusi

  1. Fantastic idea! (huge lifelong Patti fan)

  2. Thanks Sister!

  3. Ever seen Holland’s “Total Eclipse,” with a 21 year old Leonardo Di Caprio as Rimbaud? It makes you understand the fascination he held for all that Lower Manhattan art-and-music scene. Beauty, madness, art, self-destructiveness, polymorphous sexuality, all battling against a stifling conformist society – these guys were pure inspiration during the age of Disco, Carter and Reagan.

  4. So bummed I couldn’t make this class! Kind of uncanny how Day and Smith look similar when juxtaposed…Also their innate fascination with the religious from a very young age.

  5. Thanks Rebecca! we’ll have another chance this Wed. evening when we treat L. Loneliness in its entirety; surely with some backward and forward glances at Patti Smith’s story

  6. Hey Jim, happened to pick Just Kids up over break this winter, not knowing anything about it. Strangely engrossing reading. Loved to hear about their Pratt neighborhood years. js

  7. Thanks John: Pratt was always this mythic place to me; fact I still have never seen it! But in late 70s seemed like everybody had some connect with it.

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