Dear man of holy wit: read Patti Smith’s love letter to Wilde
‘De Profundis’ inspires the rock star to write a letter to the dandy poet who showed us ‘the terrible mystery of love’
Dear Oscar Wilde,
Sitting before the pages of De Profundis, I travel back to my earliest awareness of your work. I was in middle school, required to read The Selfish Giant, presented as a fairytale, yet it seemed much more to me then, redemptive and poetically Christlike. The tale was so unique and moving that it spurred me to write my own, instrumental in my personal evolution as a writer, which I submit with much gratitude.
When a bit older I read and reread library copies of The Happy Prince and The Picture of Dorian Gray. In between the pages of the latter I found a picture of you, wrapped in a greatcoat with a luxurious beaver collar...