Punks Who Write



Bowery Poetry Club photo by David Shankbone courtesy Wikipedia
Bowery Poetry Club, photo by David Shankbone courtesy Wikipedia

Patti Smith published her first book of poetry in 1972, three years before she released her first album, called Horses. Since those early years the poetress of the punk scene has steadily recorded and put onto paper her words and observations on life. As a result, it should be no surprise that her recent autobiographical literary effort would end up receiving a national book award.

Just Kids is Patti’s memoir about a poet’s life in Manhattan during the late 60’s and early 70’s. The work revolves around the experiences of the writer as well as her relationship with Robert Maplethorp, an avant-garde photographer, who died in 1989. Those who enjoy Patti Smith’s writing might enjoy the daily postings of her agent, Betsy Lerner. Ms. Lerner has obtained some literary success with her own book, The Forest For The Trees, which has become of a standard read with anybody wishing to learn more about the book publishing world.

On the other hand there is David Byrne, one of the founders of Talking Heads, one of the great post-punk or New Wave bands of the ’70s and ’80s, has been writing about bicycles. In a book called “Bicycle Dairies”, Mr. Byrne discusses his bike adventures in such diverse places as Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Baltimore, New York and Berlin. Along with his offbeat travel guide, the author includes some philosophy and observations on bike transportation in general. Though the band Talking Heads is past history, David has continued his musical career with solo releases, writing music scores for film and occasional  live performances. The first Talking Head album appeared in 1977, while his first literary publication did not appear until 1986 (True Stories). Although his books have not won any awards, his latest effort on bicycles has been very well received by reviewers.  Also, of interest is a blog  simply called “David Byrne’s Journal”, which has received a “Webby” award for its content.

Talking Heads Band 1978, courtesy of Wikimedia
Talking Heads Band 1978, courtesy of Wikimedia
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