Literary Matchmakers: Patti Smith and Meg Remy | Book*hug Press

Literary Matchmakers: Patti Smith and Meg Remy

Today’s Literary Match is dedicated to the reader who loves rock and roll origin stories and to the music-lover who pays attention to the lyrics. It pairs two formidable artists whose experiments have taken them from the stage to the page and back again: none other than Patti Smith and Meg Remy.

If you liked Patti Smith’s Just Kids, you’ll love Begin by Telling by U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy. These books sit side-by-side on the shelf—lost sisters clad in black. Each a portrait of the artist as a young woman—feverishly attuned to her world, her body—as she places her hand atop the zeitgeist and wonders how she might perceive it, challenge it, create it.

While Smith speaks cogently of times past—New York City in the 60s and 70s, the gainful collaboration between herself and Robert Mapplethorpe—Remy’s mythology is contemporary and diffuse. Remy spins a web out from her body to myriad corners of American hyper-culture, and, as though channel surfing, we catch glimpses of Desert Storm, the Oklahoma City Bombing, random street violence, the petrochemical industry. Together, her fragmentary noticings (are they essays? songs? stories?) form a lucid picture of a spectacle-driven country, along with the artist who is both fatigued by and in awe of it. More than anything Remy’s memoir, featuring illustrations by Logan T. Sibrel, marks the privilege of bearing witness and, through witness, arriving at meaning, or—at the very least—form. Never forget to connect the dots, she writes, this book is an attempt to connect a couple. 

Read more about Meg Remy’s immersive debut novel Begin by Telling here!


That’s all for now dear reader. Begin by Telling is available to purchase from our online shop or from your local independent bookstore today! PS) A reminder that you can save 25% off Begin by Telling (and all available titles) until December 24, 2021, as part of our annual Holiday Sale.

Meg Remy is a multi-disciplinary artist, and performer. Originally from Illinois, she is established as one of the most acclaimed songwriters and performers to emerge from Toronto’s eclectic underground music scene where she currently lives. Primarily known as the creative force behind the musical entity U.S. Girls, her celebrated discography spans early experimental works released on the Siltbreeze label, and includes three Polaris Prize shortlisted albums released by 4AD: Half Free (2015), In A Poem Unlimited (2018), and Heavy Light (2020). All three albums also garnered Juno nominations for Best Alternative Album. Meg has toured extensively through Europe and North America, establishing a reputation for politically astute commentary and theatrical performances with her extended U.S. Girls band, named the best live act of 2018 by Paste Magazine. During this time Remy has maintained a visual arts practice, exhibiting collage work and directing several music videos and other video artworks including her short film Woman’s Advocate (2014), in which she also performed. Begin by Telling is her first book.

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