Monday, September 14, 2009

RIP JIM CARROLL


Since reading Basketball Diaries ages ago, Jim Carroll has been one of my absolute favorite authors. Fear of Dreaming sculpted many of my most important understandings and experiences in New York City - as a fifteen year old I carried the book with me all around town trying to catch a glimpse of what Carroll saw in this city. To this day, Love Story still holds a place as my favorite poem, simple and perfect, just the way I loved it as a teenager.
The penalty for desertion
is death by firing squad

I'm saving you this trouble

enclosed is a pistol
loaded with only one bullet
squeeze the trigger once
perhaps nothing will happen.

but squeeze a second time -
a third time - You see

I know the games you love.


He died of a heart attack in his Manhattan home this past Friday, September 11, 2009 at the age of 60 - he was seated at his desk, working. Of Carroll, Patti Smith says, "I met him in 1970, and already he was pretty much universally recognized as the best poet of his generation. The work was sophisticated and elegant. He had beauty." It was his work with words and music that shaped countless moments through the decades - through film and even launching Leonardo DiCaprio into stardom with his portrayal of Carroll himself, in the film version of The Basketball Diaries. Before anything else, literature and language are my greatest passions and I personally owe Jim Carroll an enormous Thank You for stoking the flames when I was young and angry and without direction, because without work like his to let me know there was something other than Shakespeare Id never have stayed focused, become an English Major at NYU, and have infinite possibilities to incorporate what I love into my future. He will be missed.

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