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The Coral Sea
by Patti Smith
ISBN 0393039080 / 9780393039085 / 0-393-03908-0
Publisher W W Norton & Co Inc
List price $18.00
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A tribute to photographer Robert Mapplethorpe by his friend Patti Smith, these poems tell the story of the passenger "M", on a journey to see the Southern Cross, who is reflecting on his life and fighting the illness that is consuming him. The narrative is accompanied by 13 of Mapplethorpe's photographs. Metaphorical and dreamy, this tale of transformation arises from the author's knowledge of Mapplethorpe as a young man and as a mature artist, his close friendship with his patron, Sam Wagstaff, his years surviving AIDS, and his death. Patti Smith shared a friendship with him for over two decades. She was Mapplethorpe's first model, they collaborated on a film, "Still Moving", and had a joint exhibition of their work at the Robert Miller Gallery in 1978. In this tribute, she recasts her grief to recapture Mapplethorpe's life in the past and his future in his art. [via]