Coral Sea


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SMITH, Patti. The Coral Sea. New York: Norton, 1997. Quarto, original ivory photographic wrappers.

First edition of Smith's moving tribute to Mapplethorpe in her tale of a dying man's journey to see the Southern Cross, boldly signed on the half title by Patti Smith.

"In 1967, Patti Smith moved to New York City from South Jersey, and the rest is epic history. There are the photographs, the iconic made-for-record-cover black-and-whites shot by Smith's lover, soul mate, and co-conspirator in survival, Robert Mapplethorpe. Then there are the photographs taken of them together, both with wild hair and cloaked in homemade amulets, hanging out in the glamorous poverty of the Chelsea Hotel… She was, as she still is, a poet, an artist, a rock star, and a bit of a shaman. But it is her friendship with Mapplethorpe where her legend begins" (Interview). Coral Sea, written seven years after his death and first published in this edition, was issued three years before Just Kids. Smith begins this epic tale of a man journeying to see the Southern Cross with a memory of the last time she saw Mapplethorpe. He was, she writes, "my friend, my compeer, my beloved adventure. When he became ill I wept and could not stop weeping. He scolded me for that, not with words but with a simple look of reproach, and I ceased, When he passed away I could not weep so I wrote." This eloquent work is, in her words, "my farewell to my friend, my adventure, my unfettered joy." In 2005 and 2005, Smith performed the text of Coral Sea in London, accompanied by guitarist Kevin Shields. With cover image from a photograph by Mapplethorpe; containing 16 full-page illustrations, most from photographs by Mapplethorpe; frontispiece from a photograph by Edward Maxey.

A fine signed copy.

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