Fear of Dreaming

Jim Carroll

i picked this up randomly, though i should have learned by now that picking up poetry in that manner isn’t the best approach for me. Jim Carroll also wrote The Basketball Diaries, an autobiographical coming of age/drug addiction story that was later turned into a movie starring Leonard DiCaprio. i never read the book, but i do remember seeing the movie and probably the book is much better.

this collection of poetry spans from Carroll’s first “aboveground” book, Living at the Movies, to “newer works” (from 1989–1993). the poems of the first book were by far the ones that caught me the most; something about them seems more sincere or maybe it’s the more obvious backdrop of new york city that caught me. i had to skip most of the poems from The Book of Nods, as it read pretty much like a recounting of several months of dreams—i like writing down dreams and reading them later and occasionally i like reading other people’s dreams, but i think only in small quantities. the “New York City Variations” felt a little too amorphous and not enough new york. i started into “Poems 1973–1985” and just wasn’t interested enough to keep going. somehow even when he’s trying to be dirty, it just comes off as kind of lame.

a review says that “Living at the Movies” is reminiscent of Rimbaud, so maybe i will just read Rimbaud.