Last Wednesday night, New York Institution Patti Smith appeared at downtown venue Bowery Ballroom with a few friends to read poetry and play some music. The occasion? One of many in an almost two-month-long celebration of Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca’s brief sojourn in New York City in 1929-1930 while he was a student at Columbia University. That year inspired a book, Poet in New York, which has been republished in a revised bilingual edition by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

In the clip above, watch Smith read a selection of Garcia Lorca’s “Little Viennese Waltz.” Her Jersey/New York inflections make the lines her own (love the way she says “piano”), and her banter with the audience is priceless.

via The New York Times

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Washington, DC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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  • marilee pittman says:

    So beautiful, wish I could hear it without the cackling at the intro…

  • Mark Statman says:

    Please note that she is reading from the translation Pablo Medina and I did of Poet in New York (Grove, 2008) which John Ashbery called “the definitive version of Lorca’s masterpiece.”

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