Ray Lego/Cut the Fat
Jim CarrollNew York City poet/novelist/rocker
Punk poet whose gritty but vivid imagery found its way into poetry, prose, and music.
Precocity was both a boon and a curse for Jim Carroll: he was already turning heads as a writer while still in his teens, but he was also a teenage heroin addict who endured a gritty street life. With a combination of post-Beat imagery and Rimbaud-like enfant terrible attitude, Carroll's 1973 poetry collection, Living At The Movies, caught the attention of poet/punk priestess Patti Smith, who encouraged the young writer's eventuation into music. Carroll's autobiographical 1978 novel, The Basketball Diaries, became a cult classic, eventually inspiring a movie adaptation. The Jim Carroll Band enjoyed fleeting success with 1980 debut album Catholic Boy and the single "People Who Died," but after two more albums, Carroll shifted his focus back to writing. He turned out a couple more powerful collections of poetry and some captivating spoken-word recordings before his death in 2009.