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France Honors Punk Rocker Patti Smith

PARIS (AP) _ U.S. punk rocker Patti Smith received one of France's top cultural honors on Sunday.

Smith, 58, was presented with the insignia of Commander of the Order of the Arts and Letters by Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres.

The ministry, in a statement, noted Smith's appreciation for 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud, and praised her as ``one of the most influential artists in women's rock 'n' roll.''

Speaking to The Associated Press at an AIDS benefit concert in southwestern Paris, where she received the award Sunday, Smith said she accepted the award ``from the most spiritual side of me.''

``I have vowed to live up to this honor in my work and my conduct,'' she said. ``I can't explain what I feel like. It has uplifted me, and I will work very hard to earn it.''

In an interview published Sunday in Le Parisien Dimanche weekly, Smith said she hoped to record a new album including hits from artists like Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead and late French diva Edith Piaf.
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