Recently I began reading Patti Smith’s memoir of her life with Robert Mapplethorpe, Just Kids, which got me thinking about the endless memoir reading I did in high school of figures in the Beat Generation and of a number of women poets. I love a good memoir.
Patti Smith tells this great story about one time when, hungry and a bit emaciated, she was mistaken for a man by another fellow who tried to pick her up at a diner, and the fellow who tried to put the moves on her turned out to be Allen Ginsberg, who backed off upon learning she was a woman. And it got me thinking about how I’m not the only one in my family with biographical obsessions: my mother is hooked on Founding Fathers stuff (ugh), my brother will read any account by foreign war correspondents, era irrelevant, and my fiancÃ© collects Theodore Roosevelt trivia. One of my best friends can’t get enough of John Lennon mythology. So today’s Lunchtime Poll is:
What historical or cultural figures fascinate you? What are the best stories you know about them?