Steven Sebring’s sprawling documentary Dream of Life explores a 12-year Saturnian arc in the life of poet and musician Patti Smith. She moves from Detroit, Michigan to New York’s Chelsea Hotel after the death of husband Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith, and reactivates her touring band. Sebring interweaves historical glimpses of her early recordings and encounters with Beat author William S. Burroughs with the praxis of a return to performance: late night ideation sessions, fellow musicians tuning Smith’s guitars, a meditation on Coney Island, backstage warm-ups, impromptu jams, and onstage free-form poetry. Smith situates her search for stillness in the mundane (an angst-free visit to her parents for dinner, scenes with son Jackson and daughter Jessie), the spiritual (breaking down during a reading in memory of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg), the aesthetic (visits to the graves of Beat poet Gregory Corso and Decadent author Arthur Rimbaud), and contemporary politics (a call to arms against the Bush Administration). Amidst the Romanticist rage for life are moments of quiet revelation: Smith tells how her brother’s death triggered a transmission of baraka (grace).