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Monday, September 14, 2009

rip jim carroll

I always loved writing. But it wasn't when I got older and started to understand the philosophy of building a sentence was when I started to come in to my own. Created my own identity as a writer. I learned from some of the best in radio and the newspaper game to be a journalist however it was Jim Carroll - author of Basketball Diaries - that taught me that writing was about self expression and not about grammatical correctness. He taught me to throw out the rule book for writing. Write what you want. How you want. With the language you want. For this I owe him a lot. Thanks for teaching me, Jim. You will be missed.

From The Australian

POET and musician Jim Carroll, who chronicled his teenage drug use in The Basketball Diaries, has died in New York at age 60.

In the 1970s, Carroll was a fixture of the burgeoning downtown New York art scene, where he mixed with artists such as Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Larry Rivers and Robert Mapplethorpe. His life was shaped by drug use, which he wrote about extensively.

The son of a bar owner, Carroll attended Trinity, an elite private school on Manhattan's Upper West Side, on a basketball scholarship. He excelled at sport but from the age of 13 was leading a double life.

He experimented with heroin and supported his addiction by hustling gay men; he wrote about these experiences in The Basketball Diaries.

The book, which began life as a journal, was first published in 1978 and became particularly popular on university campuses when it was issued as a mass-market paperback two years later. A 1995 movie version starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg.

Carroll's poetry career started even earlier. He was in his teens when he first received recognition for his poems, especially Organic Trains in 1967, then 4 Ups and 1 Down in 1970.

It was his raw and fiery poetry, in verse form and in his lyrics for the Jim Carroll Band, that quickly earned him a reputation as a new Bob Dylan.

"I met him in 1970 and already he was pretty much universally recognised as the best poet of his generation," singer and poet Patti Smith told The New York Times.

"The work was sophisticated and elegant. He had beauty."

Carroll spent time with and around some of the most acclaimed poets, musicians and other artists of his and other generations: Smith, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, and beat poet Allen Ginsberg, who lauded the younger man's poetry and occasionally performed with him.

In the 1970s Carroll worked with Warhol at his famous Factory and contributed to the pop artist's films, collaborated with the likes of Lou Reed and lived for a period with Smith and Mapplethorpe.

In music Carroll had an outsized influence on underground rock and punk, and his 1980 album Catholic Boy is considered a punk classic. The album's biggest hit, People Who Died, was a litany of his friends who had passed away, many of drug overdoses or murder, and was featured on the soundtrack to the Steven Spielberg blockbuster ET: The Extra-Terrestrial.

Carroll's former wife Rosemary Carroll told The New York Times he died on Friday of a heart attack.