First edition. Signed on title page, with numerous items loosely inserted, including an autograph manuscript note, signed 9 March 2014. That note (on Relais-Hotel du Dieux Paris stationery) reminds us “Today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of Robert’s passing. I have completed my notations. They are really embellishments as I felt I could really not add nor analyze what I had already written.” She has instead offered “a handful of thoughts, some poems, and three [annotated] pictures: The Tambourine, The Necklace, The Star. All given with humble devotion to the task at hand, that of remembering Robert.” Also, loosely inserted, is the autographed manuscript of “Wild Leaves,” written for Robert’s 41st birthday. She has also inscribed and signed the end matter: “A note to the new owner. Thank you for supporting PEN. Patti Smith.”
The poems include those she wrote about Mapplethorpe after his death: “Who will sing of his blessedness? / The blameless eye, the radiant grin / For he, his own messenger, is gone…” But the “embellishments” add still greater depth to the portrait of her friend—and of a cultural moment: “Robert was always himself. He was not bound by sexual identity. He was bound to Art. He was the artist of my life…. Robert was profoundly influenced by Midnight Cowboy. It permeated his work and the new choices he made in his night adventures.” Other important figures appear in her annotations: “Gregory [Corso] passed away in the winter of 2001. I sang ‘Stardust’ for him, at his bedside. He was buried in Rome, at the foot of the poet Shelly, whom he adored.” Smith also tells us that “I was originally going to call this book ‘Picturing Robert.’ But someone published a book called ‘Picturing Hemingway.’ I meditated, anguished over the title until I found an entry in a journal from 1967. The phrase ‘Just Kids’ served my mission to give the reader our youth.” An incredibly moving artistic tribute.
SMITH, Patti (b. 1946). Just Kids. New York: Ecco Press, 2010. 8°. Original cloth-backed boards; dust jacket.