Patti Smith is known to many as the queen of punk rock. She excelled in the genre, in many ways, before it even was one.
Today, Smith remains one of the most influential American artists, thinkers, and songwriters. She’s a best-selling author and her 1975 album Horses is one of the most beloved artifacts of the 20th century.
Here, though, we wanted to celebrate Smith outside of her songwriting—for how we think about the world often influences how we write our most cherished tunes. So, we’re going to dive into Smith’s cerebral world and explore her best quotes.
Without further ado, let’s investigate the best 21 Patti Smith quotes of all time.
1. “In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.”
2. “Never let go of that fiery sadness called desire.”
3. “If you feel good about who you are inside, it will radiate.”
4. “Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.”
5. “Grief starts to become indulgent, and it doesn’t serve anyone, and it’s painful. But if you transform it into remembrance, then you’re magnifying the person you lost and also giving something of that person to other people, so they can experience something of that person.”
6. “I think I’m constantly in a state of adjustment.”
7. “We tried not to age, but time had its rage.”
8. “As far as I’m concerned, being any gender is a drag.”
9. “Well, I’m not one of those people who needs the limelight. If I’m performing, that’s what I’m doing. If I’m not, I don’t long for it. I don’t need the approval of an audience, or applause.”
10. “Everyone has a creative impulse, and has the right to create, and should.”
11. “I’ve said this over and over, but I’ll say it a million more times – I’m concerned more about the death of a bee than I am about terrorism. Because we’re losing hives and bees by the millions because of such strong pesticides.”
12. “We have such a great depth of human history in all of the arts, whether it’s opera or mathematics or painting or classical music or jazz. There’s so many things to study, new books to read, and certainly always ways to transform old ideas and to come up with new ones.”
13. “All I’ve ever wanted, since I was a child, was to do something wonderful.”
14. “Even as a child, I knew what I didn’t want. I didn’t want to wear red lipstick.”
15. “Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves.”
16. “Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.”
17. “Freedom is…the right to write the wrong words.”
18. “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.”
19. “Put down your cell phones, put everything away, and feel your blood pulsing in you, feel your creative impulse, feel your own spirit, your heart, your mind. Feel the joy of being alive and free.”
20. “If you don’t have what you need, just rock with what you’ve got!”
21. “Make your interactions with people transformational, not just transactional.”
Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage.