The great punk poet Jim Carroll has died.


What a sad loss. He will be remembered, respected, and missed. NYT obituary. Patti Smith, another personal idol of mine, says of Carroll, "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."

Photo: Patti and Jim (via ifcharlieparkerwasagunslinger, no image credit given)


  1. Terrible news. I met him once about 10 years ago at a book reading at CSU Fullerton. Really nice, down to earth guy with a great mind and great sense of humor. He will be missed.

  2. I really liked his collaborations with Blue Oyster Cult and Boz Scaggs, among many others. They’re worth checking out, def.

  3. If I could break through I could be certain
    But this obsession is like some fiery curtain
    All the numbers reduced to zero
    And those who died young, they are my heroes
    They are my heroes, they took the walk
    Where the heart made sense and the mind can’t talk

  4. Yesterday, one of my GF’s kittens died of fading kitten syndrome, and i started singing the “died died” song, except enumerating all the deaths of cats i’ve been close to over the years.

    I didn’t learn that Jim died until a few hours ago and now i feel strangely culpable.

  5. “You get nothin’ back for all you’ve saved
    Just eternity in a spacious grave”

    Jim will be deeply missed.

  6. Loved ‘Catholic Boy’ — was especially important in my formative years. First concert I ever saw was his band opening for the Boomtown Rats in 1981(?).
    Peace to him.

  7. Did not know the boy but I will always eulogise a poet and so….

    But I was young and did not know,
    That life is but the ebb and flow,
    Of love’s sharp shaft and reason’s doubt.
    That at life’s end, adds up to nowt.

    Now the Yorkies in this thread will understand the use of ‘nowt’.Others may guess but us lads know exactly the sentiment.I loathe rhyming couplets but in deference to the laddie I offer my poor offering.

  8. How awful. His books and music meant a lot to me when I read them so many years ago. I will miss him.

  9. @black_rabbit_queen

    I was at that show too – spoken word at the mab – and it broke my heart to listen to it.

    It’s breaking again…he is one of the people that has had a deep, deep effect on my life.

  10. I’m gonna miss Jim Carroll, but our lives were richer for knowing who he was in the first place.

    P.S. the people who died snark is well a coping mechanisim. If you made a ST reference, then things might’ve gotten ugly.

  11. Just curious, but what are they talking about in this excerpt from the NYT article:

    “Like Lou Reed, he had a mesmerizing power, evident on songs like “People Who Died” from “Catholic Boy,” a poetic litany of his dead friends that became a hit on college radio and part of the soundtrack for “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.””

    Don’t remember “People who Died” being in that movie and can’t find it listed in any track listing for the OST of ET. Am I missing something?

    RIP Jim!

  12. His writing made such an impact on me. I had the pleasure to see him play in Vancouver, BC–and I treasure that performance. Catholic Boy is one of the 5 vinyl albums I kept, for the music of course, and Annie Liebovitz’s phenomenal cover photo. Adieu, Jim!!

  13. Day and Night should have been a huge pop hit, it was my favorite song from Catholic Boy. Had a great guitar riff to open. Here’s a beat-up version of it from Fridays (the show that launched Larry David)

  14. He lasted surprisingly long, given the life that he lived. The movie of The Basketball Diaries was a little too afterschool-specialish for me, but the book was fantastic.

  15. For those of you curious about “People Who Died” in ET. It was playing on the radio when the kids were having pizza before Elliot found ET. It was also used in the remake of the “Dawn of the Dead” movie. I was friends his band before Jim asked them to be his band. He was a nice man who lived a hard life. I was sorry to hear that he died.

  16. At one of his readings, my friend Brian got a phone call from a friend of ours. The whole room glared at Brian’s lack of tact as he talked aloud and interrupted the reading, but when Brian said, “What?!? You’re in jail? We can’t bail you out until after we leave the show,” Jim Carroll was the only one laughing.

  17. Aw, dude.

    “I write your name
    With thick blue ink
    On stones I throw just to watch ’em sink”

    -I Write Your Name

    The world has lost an incredible poet. Here’s to remembering one whose name was not writ upon water, but upon the stones that dwell there.

  18. Anyone remember Jim in Tuff Turf with James Spader cast as a misfit James Dean character? That played at a movie theatre a friend worked at and we would sneak in and watch it all the time. We thought Spader was the next James Dean. Jim has speaking lines and plays People Who Died and Its too Late.

  19. Wendays and Friday nights at St. Marks Place
    Then to the YWCA for our god, Burroughs.
    easy times and running.
    miss tem miss him
    John Francis
    Season I.H.

  20. Does Drew Barrymore know that song People Who Died?
    it was in the E.T Scene where The boys were playing a game called Dungens & Drangons and they told Henry Thomas to order the pizza also it was played where the kids were getting ready to get on the bus the kids were teasing and they called Elliot a name they called Elliot a cintus suprimus.

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