Patti Smith on Lou Reed: “He recited the great poets — Rupert Brooke, Hart Crane, Frank O’Hara”

Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets

Andy Warhol's Screen Tests

As someone who has been trying to make the case that there’s an important and under-recognized connection between the New York School of poets and Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, I know that for some skeptics, one nagging fact gets in the way: Reed rarely, if ever, specifically mentioned Frank O’Hara or other New York School poets when he talked about literature (and he talked about literature a lot).

So my ears perked up when I heard the moving speech Patti Smith gave last night to mark Lou Reed’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Smith (who I’ve also discussed in connection with New York School poetry) recalls a night when she had an hours-long conversation with Reed (while he sat in a bathtub dressed in black, of course) about a whole host of topics — including “the struggles of those who fall between genders,” political corruption, the glories of…

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