Home > Research > Book Reviews > Review of Void of Course by Benjamin Segedin

Void of Course

Carroll, Jim.
Void of Course
Oct. 1998. 119p.
Penguin, paper, $12.95 (0-14-058909-0).
DDC: 811

Carroll, experienced with heroin himself, offers belated advice to the corpse of Kurt Cobain in the volume-opening "8 Fragments for Kurt Cobain": the price of genius mixed with that of fame makes a fatal cocktail, "which starts out as a kiss/And follows like a curse." Desperation and desire emanate from Carroll's verse, but with a certain poignancy, as if these words just have to be said. Carroll exhumes his life and loves, and his candor at times startles. He can shift gears, from a dirge like the Cobain piece to a comical, though no less serious, aside on the avant-garde, Buddha, or his father's last words ("Promise me that you'll never eat / Any of that Japanese food. Promise"). funky, amphetamine rhythm propels the collection and conjures the city, with its tenements, rushing crowds, flickering televisions, and park benches. As Carroll ages and matures, he acknowledges that "I've spent too much time / Expended angelic energy/On my own disintegration to hand the contract over / To another now."


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