The pioneering punk musician, poet and political activist broke through the male punk movement without chasing fame or money
t was the most electrifying image I'd ever seen of a woman of my generation," Camille Paglia said of the cover of Patti Smith's debut album Horses, which was released in 1975. That photograph, taken by Smith's friend and sometime lover Robert Mapplethorpe, revealed her as defiant and without pretension, with an unkempt masculine beauty – and she has remained that way ever since
She is inspirational, not only because she broke through the heady male punk movement, but because she has integrity and loyalty to her art, resolutely never interested in chasing fame or money. Smith, 64, is a poet, photographer, artist, mother, political activist and a voracious reader and writer. "All I've ever wanted, since I was a child," she says, "was to do something wonderful."