Patti Smith is no stranger to literary giants, having hung out with William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, but the godmother of punk has a soft spot for the children’s poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson. “I can’t imagine my childhood without him. His poems were my companions, my friends,” Smith said at the Edinburgh International Festival, the Guardian reports.
Smith also said at the event that she plans to perform Stevenson’s poetry “just for my own pleasure – to read him in the place of his birth.” Speaking before a performance of poems by Allen Ginsberg with composer Philip Glass, Smith remembered how Stevenson’s poetry helped her with her frail health as a child. “I had pneumonia, I contracted TB, scarlet fever, every childhood disease,” she said. “My two favorite books were [William Blake’s] Songs of Innocence and Experience, and Stevenson’s poems.”
Poems like “Bed in Summer” and “The Land of Nod” by the Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde author were particular favorites of Smith. “All of these poems I read over and over as a child. They spoke to me,” she said. “Robert Louis Stevenson was also a sickly child who knew what it was like to hear other children playing outside his window.”