The Coral Sea reviewed by Jeffrey Herrmann

Book Reviews
The Coral Sea reviewed by Jeffrey Herrmann
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Oct 5, 2007, 04:06

THE CORAL SEA by Patti Smith; WW Norton, 1996

The Coral Sea is a short collection of prose poems written by Smith in elegy of her longtime collaborator and friend Robert Mapplethorpe. After Mapplethorpe's death in 1989 Smith directed her grief into words which allude to a young man's journey to Papua in the Southern Hemisphere. In the process of reflecting on M's life, Smith describes him as an artist who was born with a gift for placement and as an aesthete who could adore a vessel while ignoring its contents. Surrounded in his cabin by tokens and belongings, the young M found comfort in rituals which magnified an awareness that he was in no one's possession and that he was enslaved to nothing other than destiny. The Coral Sea is a poetic tribute to Mapplethorpe and as fine a parting gift as any traveler could hope for.

-Jeffrey Herrmann

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