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Carroll Captivates Student Audience

Jim Carroll at Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)

The explicitly powerful words of author, poet and musician Jim Carroll filled the Seretean Center as well as the minds of several Oklahoma State University students Tuesday night.

Jim Carroll at Oklahoma State University

Jim Carroll, poet and musician, performs Tuesday evening. Carroll is well known for his volumes of poetry and prose including “The Basketball Diaries.” He was brought to OSU by the SUAB and the SGA Speakers Board.

Photo by Paul Rutherford / O’Collegian

Carroll, the author of several volumes of poetry and prose, including "The Basketball Diaries," which later was made into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, performed several of his signature poems and stories for a fairly large audience.

Ginger Sorrels, counseling senior, said Carroll's performance was entertaining.

"I liked this venue much better (than Gallagher-Iba Arena)," Sorrels said. "I especially liked the end, when he was doing his songs."

Sorrels said she was somewhat familiar with Carroll's work. She had seen "The Basketball Diaries" and looked up some of his poems on the Internet when she heard he was coming to OSU.

Carroll began the evening on a humorous note, with a prose piece titled "A Day at the Races," a story about racing pubic crabs with a woman named Jenny.

"Golly, what a woman — who can turn an ailment into a viable recreation," Carroll said.

He mentioned his struggle to free himself of drug addiction on several occasions.

"I got clean in California," he said. "And I went back to New York to see if I could stay clean."

He performed pieces on topics ranging from performance artists to satanists, an overweight bat and a tribute to Kurt Cobain.

He spoke about the "worst cat of all time," a cat that had a taste for semen, among other odd habits.

Doug Martin, English graduate student, said he enjoyed the performance a lot.

"When I was a young pup, Jim Carroll was my idol," Martin said. "Because he's like a tent that zoomed from Mars back to the kitchen salad."

As the performance progressed, Carroll delved into his poetry and songs.

One fast-paced poem was actually a message he left on someone's answering machine, he said.

He shared several of his observations on poets and mosquitoes.

"There are too many poets and not enough mosquitoes," he said. "A poet sees an owl and sees a woman's crotch. A mosquito sees a poet, and he sees a woman's crotch. Poets and mosquitoes have one thing in common — they both suck."

He acquired a more serious demeanor as he performed a capella song lyrics.

"If you know how it ends, why did you let it begin?...You can't live without the beast within," he sung in a low growl.

He will release a new album this fall, a mixture of songs and spoken word set to music.

Carroll signed books and chatted with audience members after the performance — answering questions, accepting praise and sketches from devoted fans.

Ryan Jewell, music freshman, was one of the fans.

"I bought 'Fear of Dreaming' when I was 15. It was the first book of poetry I ever bought," Jewell said. "It was very cool to see him, since I have liked him so long."

Carroll said he felt a "good energy" with the OSU audience.

"I can feel (the energy) right away in an audience," he said. "In the middle, you kind of have to retake the pulse and adjust."

Carroll has a new book that will be published this fall called "Void of Course."

"It's an astrological term. I'm not really into astrology, but it means you don't have a moon sign," he said. "I liked the sound of it. I'm always void."

The original article was found at

1998 The Daily O'Collegian


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