Martedì, 25 Settembre 2018
ROME

Patti Smith says 'prayed pope would pick name Francis'

English
© ANSA

Rome, April 10 - 'Godmother of Punk' Patti Smith
said Wednesday she had prayed for the new pope to choose the
name Francis to follow in the footsteps of the patron of the
meek and poor, 13th-century St Francis of Assisi.
Smith, 66, is a declared admirer of the short-lived and
famously humble pope John Paul I, who reigned for 33 days in
1978.
She told reporters after meeting Francis Wednesday that
when she heard the shock news Benedict XVI was to abdicate in
February, "I prayed that his successor would choose the name
Francis".
Smith, who is in Rome for a series of concerts
commemorating her explosion onto the New York pre-punk scene in
the 1970s, said: "After the white smoke (went up), when I heard
on the TV that the new pope was called Francis, I was happy."
The singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist, whose debut
1975 album Horses was a musical landmark hailed by the punk
rockers that came after her, said it was "too early" to judge
the Argentine pope but he "is interesting and I like him".
Smith, who is of Irish origin and had a strong Bible-based
upbringing, has returned to religion after her years on the rock
roller-coaster but has denied reports that she has embraced
Catholicism.
"I'm not Catholic and so I see things without the weight of
dogma but I find it beautiful and brave to have chosen a name
that represents humility, the renunciation of materialism and
attention to Nature," she said.
Smith added she had always had an "extraordinary" reception
from Italians, whose "faith has always amazed me".
She also recalled her first years in New York, in the late
'60s, when "I hung out with people like Allen Ginsberg, Leonard
Cohen, William Burroughs and Diane Arbus at the Chelsea Hotel.
"They weren't celebrities (yet), we were friends and we
used to lend each other money. Janis Joplin lived there for more
than a year without anyone asking for her autograph or taking
her picture".
Smith was a major figure in the New York underground scene
at the turn of the '70s before breaking out with an explosive
fusion of rock and poetry.
Her best-known song is Because the Night, co-written with
Bruce Springsteen, a chart hit in 1978.
In 2005 she was named a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et
des Lettres by the French minister of culture and in 2007 she
was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2010 she won the National Book Award for her memoir Just
Kids.

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