Jim Carroll workshop continues – see here, here and here
JC: I mean, that just has..you know. Like, I mentioned before about Henry Miller – the one book.. when they ask(ed) me what books people should read for this course, I mention(ed) the Henry Miller book, (The) Time of the Assasins, because, I mean, simply because it made me feel like.. That was he book that made me want to get into music, you know.
I mean, it’s his assessment of Rimbaud – it’s really just as much his assessment of Henry Miller, of course – but I think that what it did was for me…I mean it had lines like, you know – ”Where are the poets now?” – And I just saw that too many poets were writing in certain kind of scenes for other poets (and I (too) was certainly guilty of that). I mean, I saw that, you know, you could cover up a lot of bullshit in a façade of clever style and imagery. And there was a certain strength to that. But.. I mean, you know, a poet is.. you know,. It was a very naïve notion to me, but all of a sudden, you know, the way he put it., like – Poets should change, you know, the fuckin’ world!!” – “What are they doing?” – and I thought, “Well, rock n roll is the only thing that can do that now, you know, It’s like that.. At the end of La-Bas, you know, they talk about (how) there can’t be any more saints now – ( (J.K.) Huysmans‘ work) – and, you know, the Modern Age cannot accept that anymore. But, I think there can be rock ‘n roll stars, and poets can somehow tap into that in a certain way without really changing . Because.. It’s.. I mean, there are vast technical differences between writing a song lyric, to me, and writing a poem, but, in a sense, the vision and power and rage and all the strength of a poem to evoke people spiritually..
I mean, I can’t get in.. I… just.. on every record… because I knew the power of, like, music well after my first album by the second album.. I wrote a song called “Barricades” – it was a political song, (and I’d never written political poems), simply because I knew how strong rock n roll was. I mean, the first album did much better than I ever expected. I had this big audience all of a sudden. I felt, you know, you had a duty to write some kind of political song (but within that, not to get caught up in sloganeering and stuff, like certain English punk rock groups [The Clash] ( – who’s work I really liked in certain ways, but in other ways I didn’t – until Allen (Ginsberg) set me straight!)
like..to get that quality that that song has, which was “the inner register” (where he (Miller) speaks about Rimbaud’s work and about Van Gogh’s work), where there’s this hard quality, like, (I’ve always described it as this wind moving through your veins, like a fist tightening underneath your heart). It’s like there’s some kind of feeling of.. you know, where a total functional illiterate can understand these words, you know, or the music, and get the same out of it as you could in an intellectual sense.. and you were relying too much on head-games and not approaching the heart, you know. And I mean, (in) rock, it was already built-in. I mean, what’s a hook, other than…? I mean you feel a hook or you hear a certain counterpuntal phrase in classical music, which makes that, you know, that incredible rush happen, you know. And so, I mean, that’s what “the inner register” is about. I mean, it’s a heart feeling. And so it was already there with music, you know. Someone could come along and put, you know, some kind of lyrics which evoked in a way also, both through the head and through the heart…
to be continued