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.
If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newsletter, please find it here.
If you would like to support the mission of Open Culture, consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, and Venmo (@openculture). Thanks!