RIP: Basketball Diaries Author Jim Carroll Dead At 59

basketball_diaries.jpgNEW YORK TIMES: Jim Carroll, the poet and punk rocker in the outlaw tradition of Rimbaud and Burroughs who chronicled his wild youth in “The Basketball Diaries,” died on Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 60. The cause was a heart attack, said Rosemary Carroll, his former wife. As a teenage basketball star in the 1960s at Trinity, an elite private school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Mr. Carroll led a chaotic life that combined sports, drugs and poetry. This highly unusual combination lent a lurid appeal to “The Basketball Diaries,” the journal he kept during high school and published in 1978, by which time his poetry had already won him a cult reputation as the new Bob Dylan. The diaries began, innocently: “Today was my first Biddy League game and my first day in any organized basketball league. I’m enthused about life due to this exciting event.” By the end of the book, Mr. Carroll was a heroin addict who supported his habit by hustling in Times Square. “Totally zonked, and all the dope scraped or sniffed clean from the tiny cellophane bags,” the final entry read, continuing, “I can see the Cloisters with its million in medieval art out the bedroom window. I got to go in and puke. I just want to be pure.” MORE

WIKIPEDIA: Carroll attracted the attention of the local literati, and jim_carroll___seattle_wa___september_2000___photo_by_eric_thompson.jpgpublished his first book, Organic Trains, at age 17. Several of his poems have been published in such magazines as Paris Review and Poetry. In 1970, his second collection of poems, 4 Ups and 1 Down was published, and he started working for Andy Warhol. At first, he was writing film dialogue and inventing character names; later on, Carroll worked as the co-manager of Warhol’s Theater. Carroll’s first publication by a mainstream publisher (Grossman Publishers), the poetry collection Living At The Movies, was published in 1973.[1] In 1978, Carroll authored The Basketball Diaries, an autobiographical book concerning his life as a teenager in New York City’s hard drug culture. Diaries is an edited collection of the diaries he kept between the ages of twelve and sixteen, detailing his sexual experiences, high school basketball career, and his addiction to heroin, which began when he was 13. Also in 1978, Carroll formed The Jim Carroll Band, a New Wave/punk rock group, with encouragement from Patti Smith. In the mid-1980s, Carroll returned to writing full time and began to appear regularly on the spoken word circuit. Since 1991, Carroll has performed readings from his unfinished first novel, tentatively titled The Petting Zoo. MORE [Photo by ERIC THOMPSON]

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