Patti Smith’s transcendant Nobel moment

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Patti Smith’s transcendant Nobel moment

A beautiful moment of grace last night, in between news of Aleppo’s tragedy, suicide bombs in Istanbul, merchants and vacuous celebrities preparing to take over America, polluted Paris coughing and gasping: Patti Smith singing Bob Dylan’s « A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall » at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm.

Winner of the Nobel Literature prize, Dylan declined to attend the ceremony. He sent a speech, read by the American ambassador to Sweden, and he sent Patti Smith. So before a rarefied assembly of royalty, academy members and laureates who were formally dressed in finest evening attire and decked in jewels and tiaras, the great punk-rock queen with the flowing white hair performed Dylan’s anthem for him.

What a moment! Patti, elegant and fierce and free, stumbled at one point, forgetting the lyrics and apologizing to the audience, who applauded her. How moving, how appropriate: She is a true artist, a human being, performing the work of a true artist, with a depth and conviction that has become so very rare in these dark times of ours. Like some in the audience, I was brought to tears by the performance. At times, the scene looked so surreal; but in fact, it was something else altogether: real.

If you have a few minutes to watch, you won’t regret it: 

By | 2017-04-04T06:58:10+00:00 décembre 11th, 2016|Art et Zen|10 Comments

About the Author:

Enseignante Zen et poète, Sensei Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell est née et a grandi à Minneapolis, aux Etats-Unis. Arrivée en France en 1981 pour étudier la littérature et l’histoire, elle y est restée, s’installant à Paris, où elle élève ses deux enfants et gagne sa vie en tant que journaliste. The Zen teacher and poet Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell Sensei was born and raised in Minneapolis, but came to France in 1981 to study literature and history and has lived in Paris ever since, raising her two children and making a living as a journalist.


  1. marlene 14 décembre 2016 at 19 h 08 min - Reply

    Thank you Amy for this sharing. And this so true and unexpected moment with Patti Smith- another crack where the light came in. Showing the « faillure »as a good moment to stop, apollogize, then accept being nerveous and then simply doing it again.

  2. ann 13 décembre 2016 at 11 h 21 min - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this.
    To me too it feels special. Especially her admitting she is nervous places it in a much deeper vulnerable perspective. Makes even more powerful for me. It touches me.

    Now, i don’t want to spoil the joy. But: how now can we read this communication? what is communicated? and what is perceived by who? As allways i feel empathy, reading of bodylanguague, ( sound) is involved deeply in all communication.

    And even more radical :  » l’apelle dans le regard des autres » Levinas. Is a big part of my life i feel.

    But what do we perceive?
    In how far is this projection of our own minds?
    What is empathy?
    what is communication?
    Truly – i am not at all a scepticus or a cynicus – just on the contrary.

    « The biggest problem with communication is the illusion it took place. »
    George Bernard Shaw

    « Même le face à face des aveugles
    Se fascinant pour ne jamais se voir. »
    Pierre Emanuel – (Apprendre la simplicité des jours)

    « No 2 people have ever met »
    Byron Katie
    I hope she ment « no 2 ego’s have ever met » – frankly
    i see her point though.
    and as i believed before we don’t solve this by being nice…
    although it is good to be nice of course – but real too

    this is what i am contemplating…
    as you see questions – a lot radical ( as to the root/radix of things) questions…

  3. Sophie 12 décembre 2016 at 23 h 06 min - Reply

    Merci Amy, beaucoup.
    Je viens d’entendre en moi une mélodie, un refrain, un rythme un peu lancinant, et reconnaître la chanson chantée par Patti Smith…oui réel… réel au moment où cela a eu lieu, là-bas, elle si droite et vibrante au fond, réel en moi au moment où j’ai écouté-regardé, réel intériorisé depuis… Hier j’ai ensuite écouté les différentes versions, Bob Dylan bien sûr, Joan Baez, Nana Mouskouri… j’ai lu les paroles en anglais en français, puis réécouté Patti Smith si droite et si vibrante au fond…

  4. Tiago 12 décembre 2016 at 20 h 18 min - Reply

    I am happy to read you back in here, Amy. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Sónia Martinez 12 décembre 2016 at 1 h 01 min - Reply

    WoW so deep, so profund, so human, so strong and suit and tender human being and moment of live
    As others, my tears just came
    Thank you for sharing such a true moment

  6. Óscar Faria 11 décembre 2016 at 23 h 55 min - Reply

    Last year I saw a concert by Patti Smith in Porto. It was an acoustic one, the night before Horses, which was played in its integrity next day in the evening. In a certain moment, she began howling. And everyone followed her screams. I also started to howl. What a joy emerged from my heart: becoming a dog, a wolf, a coyote. Becoming Ginsberg. Being myself. I have an old friend that had the privilege of having Patti Smith singing happy Birthday to him in the other side of the phone. And another one that is the translator of her songs and poems to Portuguese: Ha! Ha! Houdini!

    I used to live near by the border
    I used to say good morning to the wall
    Today they sell the truth at every corner
    It seems that they can’t stand the truth at all

    Today I bought a frame to put a poster that I have since 1993. It’s from an exhibition of calligraphies of Hogen Yamahata that was presented in Gulbenkian Foundation, in Lisbon. I have a beautiful memory of a stone and papers on the floor. The text written in them was the Heart Sutra.

    Walking home with the moonlight as my partner, I crossed a homeless man and a prostitute. They both greeted me. I answered them from the bottom of my heart.

    Now, the poster, designed by Manuel Zimbro and Pedro Morais, is sustained by the sofa: Shingyo

    As Hogen Yamahata says in the catalogue of the exhibition:

    SHIN GYO “means essencial sutra, also this means heart, Shin means heart, essence, and Gyo is sutra. So the name of the Heart Sutra came from this.
    The essence of the essence of all Buddhism is here-now.”

    Howling. The moon is almost full. Here-now.

    I awakened to the cry
    that the people / have the power
    to redeem / the work of fools
    upon the meek / the graces shower
    it’s decreed / the people rule

    (Patti Smith, People have the Power)

  7. Cristina 11 décembre 2016 at 16 h 46 min - Reply

    What a beautiful, deep moment of music and profound poetry.
    Thank you Roshi for sharing.
    I bow!!

  8. Filipa 11 décembre 2016 at 16 h 18 min - Reply

    Wow wow… Beautiful. Music really is one of the most wonderful creations of nature and Men 🙂 I couldn’t imagine living without it…

  9. Margarida Morning Star 11 décembre 2016 at 15 h 25 min - Reply

    I was brought to tears too…it was really a powerful moment…

  10. lisa 11 décembre 2016 at 15 h 19 min - Reply

    Thank you Amy for sharing this moment of grace.

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