Jim Carroll
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NEW YORK (AP) — Jim Carroll, the poet and punk rocker who wrote "The Basketball Diaries," died Friday. He was 60.

He died from a heart attack at his home in Manhattan, his ex-wife Rosemary Carroll told the New York Times.

In the 1970s, Carroll was a fixture of the burgeoning downtown New York art scene, where he mixed with artists such as Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Larry Rivers and Robert Mapplethorpe. His life was shaped by drug use, which he wrote about extensively.

Carroll also published several poetry collections, while his 1980 album, "Catholic Boy," has been hailed as a landmark punk record, and he became known for one of its songs, "People Who Died."

But it was "The Basketball Diaries," his autobiographical tale of life as a sports star at Trinity, an elite private high school in Manhattan, that brought him his widest audience. The son of a bar owner, Carroll attended the school on a basketball scholarship.

The book, which began life as a journal, was first published in 1978 and then became even more popular, particularly on college campuses, when it was issued as a mass-market paperback two years later. A 1995 movie version starred Leonardo DiCaprio.

His poetry career started even earlier. Carroll was in his teens when he first received recognition for his poems, especially "Organic Trains" in 1967 and then "4 Ups and 1 Down" in 1970. Among his other works are collections such as "The Book of Nods" (1986), "Fear of Dreaming" (1993) and "Void of course: Poems 1994-1997" (1998).

Carroll left New York in 1973 and moved to California, where he met his future wife Rosemary Klemfuss. They later divorced.

It was Smith who encouraged his music, and he formed the Jim Carroll Band. Among his other albums were the less successful "Dry Dreams" (1982) and "I Write Your Name" (1984).




Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press
Published in New York Times on Sep. 14, 2009.
Memories & Condolences
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159 entries
April 18, 2019
I met Jim several years ago through Paul Sanchez. I remember sitting in a hotel room while Jim told many stories about many things well into the wee hours of the morning.
Wendy Zelinski
Acquaintance
February 19, 2019
Jim was the sweetest, most humble man I knew. I always felt like he was the kind of guy who would talk with anyone and go anywhere. He wasn't too proud to talk with anyone. I truly wish I could speak with him as an adult, but I am forever grateful I got to talk with him a few times as a teenager. I will never forget it. Love you Jim!
Melanie Webb
Friend
March 31, 2018
I just watched Basketball Diaries for the umpteenth time...I am always amazed,inspired,and in complete awe. Thank you Jim..for sharing with us your life,your loves,your sadness,your joy,and your remarkable honesty! I love you Jim.You have inspired me!!.fly high ...fly high..
Deb Carroll
January 30, 2018
Jim - You and I met at Keith Richard's birthday party at the Roxy back in 1980. My date was off trying to chat up his ex-wife, Maryanne Faithfull, and you and I sat for a couple of hours talking. At the time I did not know who you were or what you had accomplished (and done) in your short life, but now - 2018 - I thought of you tonight watching "Basketball Diaries." I remember vividly discussing your work with you - I was so impressed. I was a lonely Yale senior, and you were a calming and entertaining friend. I hope you are safe on the other side, and telling stories to all that gather at your feet. xo W.
W Hill
May 26, 2017
Valenda Newell
April 18, 2017
A permanent guest book! I am glad to find it. To Jim- I discovered your writing as a teenager and I even made a woodcut print of you at 19. Though I missed your concert that year, a few years later I got the chance to see you open for Allen Ginsberg at a bar. It was an incredible night. I remember being amazed by the figure before me with that all too familiar voice. I asked you to sign a book after and you said sure which one? I said you pick and pulled out my books. You smiled and said and I thought only my mother had all my books. I will sign them all. I was a little speechless and hoped that you took my incredible awkwardness for what it was, a sign of respect and admiration for one's literary idol. I am older now and grateful for the kindness you showed my younger self. I would have loved to have met you again. Selfishly I wanted you to produce more work. But that you were once and shared with us all you created... Thank you.
Sabrina H.
February 6, 2015
I am deeply sad to find that you have passed. Coming from a rough neighborhood and a drug and alcohol filled home as I child, I was 12 years old when I first watched Basketball Diaries and it literally saved my life! Your book was my bible for along time and it was a life goal of mine to shake your hand. Thank you for continuing to inspire! You will be missed.
Trista Fuller
January 6, 2015
Watching basketball diaries for the millionth time tonight. Reminding me that you will forever live on and this is just a small piece of your legacy.
Kristi Williams
September 3, 2014
Huzur içinde yat dostum
February 2, 2014
I never met or knew of you until after you died. You were before my time, but your work has left an impression on me. Thank you, Jim. Much love and appreciation.
Lauren
December 3, 2013
baseball diary years 1964 upstate NY
I really enjoy your work, jim. thank you for writing about your life and times. quite inspiring...quite. RIP and i'll see you around Times Square and Central Park...each time I go there. ;)
john dorfner
October 2, 2013
Meeting you at the reading for Book of Nods at BU was a major highlight of my teenage years. I think about you often. Your diary made it impossible for me to ever try hard drugs. I thank you for that, now that I'm in my 40's and feel out of the woods.
Celeste Finn
April 26, 2013
Thank you for your words... they have stayed with me.
September 21, 2012
You always saw the light at the end of the tunnel ,Excellent work Jim
william jordan
May 27, 2012
You will forever be missed, but you will never be forgotten.
Melissa Puentez
May 11, 2012
I TOO SALUTE YOU MY BROTHER ! MAY YOU BE IN A GREAT PLACE....WE LOVE YOU MAN ! R.VEGA
March 13, 2012
we salute you brother!
Jessica Jane
November 15, 2011
Godspeed to heaven, Jim. I never tire of listening to "Day and Night" and "Wicked Gravity". What a shame you had to go so soon, but so have so many of the greats. RIP. I salute you, brother.
cat
October 12, 2011
JIM I AM IN AWE OF YOU I COULD LISTEN TO FOR THE PEOPLE WHO DIED A MILLION TIMES AND NOT BE BORED
MARY MEREDITH
April 30, 2011
Thanks buddy
mark howard
December 19, 2010
Kept waiting for your next incarnation. Don't really like this one though.
Lyn
November 1, 2010
Thanks, Jim.
August 26, 2010
where are you?
June 20, 2010
Rest in Peace, Brother.............hopefully now you can rest and we can learn from the pieces.

Fritz
Fritz Gibbs
June 19, 2010
"that's when the fire at the bottom, that fire is my own reflection. but it aint hip to sink that low ,unless your gonna make a reserection." I will miss you more than all the other's, and I Salute You Brother! Thank the aincent's that we have allie's in heaven and comrade's in hell!
jerry thompson
June 5, 2010
long life jim. Close to you forever
Ramon
June 4, 2010
loved your movie and wantedto meet you rest in peace
MaryAnn Young
May 12, 2010
I'm so bummed, my dream was to meet this guy. he is the greatest writer, poet, and musician ever lived.
Caitlin Remy
May 6, 2010
You lived your life. I respected your decisions
joe rivv
April 18, 2010
I was lucky enough to see Jim in Long Beach CA one night when he did a reading. When it was over, I went over to him and asked him to autograph my books. He was so approachable and when he asked me my name I told him "Patti". And then he said, "Patti with a Y or Patti with an I?" I thought it was so sweet.
I have been influenced and inspired by a few writers, but Jim's writing and music resonated like no other. I will miss his sensitivity and insight.
Patti Murphy (that's Patti with an I)
Patti Murphy
April 14, 2010
Goodbye, Jim. Maybe we will meet each other in the next life. RIP
Christina Berry
April 5, 2010
Stratosphere
April 5, 2010
JokerneckQ
Some
Times
Joking
......
Sometimes
We'll!!!!!!
Christopher Perez
March 8, 2010
I am shocked, had no idea.
RIP Jim.
god speed/ the company you keep.
paul
February 9, 2010
"Hearing 'People who died' took off the top of my head when I was twelve. It sent me rocketing out of the California suburbs and into the NYC poetry and music scene. Thanks for the inspiration, Jim." David
David Jager
January 2, 2010
There are no endings, just transformations between train rides.

So long, dude.
Max Skeans
December 20, 2009
For Jim...

WEEP NOT FOR ME


Do not weep for me when I no longer dwell among the wonders of the earth; for my larger self is free, and my soul rejoices on the other side of pain...on the other side of darkness.

Do not weep for me, for I am a ray of sunshine that touches your skin, a tropical breeze upon your face, the hush of joy within your heart and the innocence of babes in mothers arms.

I am the hope in a darkened night. And, in your hour of need, I will be there to comfort you. I will share your tears, your joys, your fears, your disappointments and your triumphs.

Do not weep for me, for I am cradled
in the arms of God. I walk with the angels, and hear the music beyond the stars.

Do not weep for me, for I am within you;
I am peace, love, I am a soft wind that caresses the flowers. I am the calm that follows a raging storm. I am an autumns leaf that floats among the garden of God, and I am pure white snow that softly falls upon your hand.

Do not weep for me, for I shall never die, as long as you remember me...
with a smile and a sigh.


© Joe Fazio
jfazio@gmail.com /Joe Fazio
December 16, 2009
Rest in Peace Jim
T S
November 26, 2009
One of a very few honest writers - I listened to one of your Naropa readings today Jim which kinda means you're still here. Wow! Who'd have thought it? Immortality! Man, you're missed but I'm guessing you're doing just fine. Say hello to Bill B and Alan G for me. Love you all xxxxxxxx
Alabaster Russmore
November 19, 2009
Goodbye Jim, thank you for sharing your talents with us.
John W. (Oslo, Norway)
November 12, 2009
rest in peace jim,your words have helped me throughout my life .your music made life fun,and your wisdom inspired me to kick my heroin addiction and live for talent,and live to breath not die.thankyou so much jim.
love rachel oretga~california
rachel ortega
November 1, 2009
RIP Jim, your music helped me through some tough times in grad school. We'll miss you!
John Peloquin
October 29, 2009
rest in peace
danny
October 24, 2009
A very heart-felt and sad "Goodbye" to one of the masters of poetry and literature. We'll miss you, Jim. God Bless.
Tom Collett
October 8, 2009
such a sad loss . one of the greatest poets ever. the album catholic boy changed my life . he was an inspiration to me . the movie the basketball diaries helped me kick my own habit . thanks jim for everthing. R.I.P.
JAYSON HAWKINS
October 6, 2009
For Jim...

Your work continues
to be respected.

WEEP NOT FOR ME


Do not weep for me when I no longer dwell among the wonders of the earth; for my larger self is free, and my soul rejoices on the other side of pain...on the other side of darkness.

Do not weep for me, for I am a ray of sunshine that touches your skin, a tropical breeze upon your face, the hush of joy within your heart and the innocence of babes in mothers arms.

I am the hope in a darkened night. And, in your hour of need, I will be there to comfort you. I will share your tears, your joys, your fears, your disappointments and your triumphs.

Do not weep for me, for I am cradled
in the arms of God. I walk with the angels, and hear the music beyond the stars.

Do not weep for me, for I am within you;
I am peace, love, I am a soft wind that caresses the flowers. I am the calm that follows a raging storm. I am an autumns leaf that floats among the garden of God, and I am pure white snow that softly falls upon your hand.

Do not weep for me, for I shall never die, as long as you remember me...
with a smile and a sigh.


© Joe Fazio
jfazio@gmail.com /Joe Fazio
September 30, 2009
Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
Jon Lowder
September 29, 2009
To my dearest family, some things I'd like to say...
but first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay.
I'm writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above.
Here, there's no more tears of sadness; here is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just because I'm out of sight.
Remember that I'm with you every morning, noon and night.
That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through,
God picked me up and hugged me and He said, "I welcome you."

It's good to have you back again; you were missed while you were gone.
As for your dearest family, they'll be here later on.
I need you here badly; you're part of my plan.
There's so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man.

God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do.
And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.
And when you lie in bed at night, the day's chores put to flight.
God and I are closest to you....in the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years
because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears.
But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain.
Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.

I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned.
But if I were to tell you, you wouldn't understand.
But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o'er.
I'm closer to you now, than I ever was before.

There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;
but together we can do it by taking one day at a time.
It was always my philosophy and I'd like it for you too...
that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.

If you can help somebody who's in sorrow and pain,
then you can say to God at night......"My day was not in vain."
And now I am contented....that my life has been worthwhile,
knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.

So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low,
just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.
When you're walking down the street, and you've got me on your mind;
I'm walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

And when it's time for you to go.... from that body to be free,
remember you're not going.....you're coming here to me.

Ruth Ann Mahaffey (author)
©Copyright 1998-2009
JON LOWDER
September 28, 2009
The world has lost one of the most special people ever.
Not just his music, not just his writing but HIM!
The world is stale and lonely now.
Shawn S
September 28, 2009
sorry to hear of a lost loved one. my heart and prayers goes out to all the family.
joyce ward
September 27, 2009
Thank you for writing. Thank you for being in a band. Thank you for playing shows. I saw you at the Great American in SF in what must have been 1994 though it is all a blur both then and now. May you rest in peace.
Barbara S.
September 27, 2009
RIP Jim Carroll, one of our best contemporary poets and figures of spiritual redemption. May perpetual light shine upon him.
John Allen
September 27, 2009
A most imperfect and true New York artist passes-
Resquiat in Pace, friend!
JR Quilcon
September 24, 2009
The guy was amazing and left an incredible mark. RIP Jim
Gail
September 23, 2009
Look at all these people you touched Jim!
The world was better for your being in it, and is now the poorer for your loss.
That's the very best that can be said of anyone.
I hope you're in peace and joy now, and offer condolences and sympathy to the many, many people who clearly loved you.
ari
September 22, 2009
I'm so sad to read about Jim's death. His songs were humorous and struck just the right chords with those of us who knew what he was singing about. "People Who Died" is one of my all-time favorite songs. Condolences to his family.
Kelly N.
September 21, 2009
Your music was crap and self indulgent.
However, there is a market for that kind of thing, and I guess you were fortunate to have such loyal fans.
RIP, Jim Carroll.
Tom
September 21, 2009
May God bless and keep you Jim. Through your experiences you taught alot.
Shelly Walker
September 21, 2009
I love all things Jim Carrol
Jess Jacabee
September 21, 2009
I still listening to Catholic Boy on my iPod and I still have my original 20 years old copy of Basketball Dairies in my nightstand.
Josh (Fair Lawn, NJ)
Josh
September 21, 2009
I thank the heavens that I was able to see Jim in concert at a very impressionable age, and what an impression he left...
Karen F M
September 20, 2009
Jim,

Your writing was very special to me. Thank you.
Maria Cipriano
September 19, 2009
We are truly sorry for your loss. May the passing of time and happy memories help to ease your pain. Have faith in the promise God made. No more sickness, no more death, no more pain. What a glorious day that will be. We offer our sincere condolences to you all.
The Guilford Family
September 18, 2009
I identify with your words and music having followed a simular path. Really gonna miss your life among us....Jim Oliver-Rockport, MA.- Right behind you brother.
Jim Oliver
September 18, 2009
I salute you brother.
steve karras
September 18, 2009
You are the reason I became a writer. Thank you.
September 18, 2009
thank you for your gifts to us all....your legacy will bring spirit and humor to aging boomers for many years....mickey....catholic grad '64
September 18, 2009
Thank you for your amazing music and words, you will be missed. I have listend to Catholic Boy since I was 6 years old and still do today in awe of what you created. I am deeply saddend by your passing.
Dustin Cecilia Nipper
September 18, 2009
I will miss Jim Carroll. His music is a part of my youth. The name Jim Carroll makes me happy.
Yes, I will miss Jim Carroll.
-Ellen Moon
Ellen Moon
September 18, 2009
Gone much too soon.
Catherine
September 18, 2009
Thanks for everything, Jim. Your brilliant words and music will live forever.
Mark N.
September 17, 2009
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
jeri bluhm
September 17, 2009
God Bless you Jim Carroll
September 17, 2009
I first heard of Jim Carrol with his band. Loved his lyrics and the great music. Was very underated and deservrd more reconition as a rock n roller.
Watched Basketball diaries and was very impressed with his trials tribulations and inspiration. We lost a true artist. Rip John and condolances to his family
Leo Bordeleau
September 17, 2009

Saint Carroll
You made it 60 years as a ghost in a body. I love you. Come see me when I am near the rooftops and you the stars at night.
~an aspiring angel
September 17, 2009
Awesome artistic output, Jim. You will be missed, brother!
C. Sheehan
September 17, 2009
Thank you , Jim, for sharing your genius. My dream come true, to see you at the 688 in Atlanta, just after Catholic Boy. My condolences to Jim's family and friends.
Ellen Haygood
September 17, 2009
Dear Jim, you were a true inspiration throughout my entire life and will continue to inspire me and others in your eternal life. I am so glad I got a chance to enjoy your talents and meet you a couple of times along the way at your performances. enjoy your purity. bk
brian kelley
September 17, 2009
I was shocked by the news of Jim's death. RIP Jim. I might add that Jim once encouraged me by embracing photographs I took of him when I needed the artistic "shot in the arm"
I treasure them still and they constantly remind me to keep my my artistic expression and to do better. I WILL MISS YOU JIM CARROLL but you are and have been in my heart..
eugenia polos
September 17, 2009
I am in shock and utter saddness for this literary loss. Thank you Jim for getting me through tough times in life. Void of course has become like air to me. R.I.P our Poet Hero.

Eternal love and respect,
Kimberley Thomson
September 17, 2009
Condolences and best wishes to all who mourn Jim. I feel fortunate to have seen him in Atlanta at 688 all those years ago. Truly he was one of the greatest writers of our time. I will always remember Jim. RIP
Cathy Gresham
September 17, 2009
He was a true artist and an addict -- like myself. He inspired me on both levels.
Ted [____]
September 16, 2009
thanks for your music and literature jim,ihope to see you in the next world don't be late
david bodah
September 16, 2009
My strongest memory of Jim was how he encouraged me as a writer, told me I had a "great ear for dialogue". I shall always hold those memories dear. There are not many times when you can touch someone's life in such a meaningful way and Jim did that for a lot of us who knew him. I weep for his passing. My condolences go out to all who loved him.
Nora Jean Gatine, San Francisco, CA
September 16, 2009
So thankful for his writing of Basketball Diaries. It healed a lot of wounds, confirmed a lot of feelings and inspired me to be in it for the long haul when helping someone. My condolences to his family and friends. Brenda D.
Brenda Delaney
September 16, 2009
My strongest memory of Jim was how he encouraged me as a writer, told me I had a "great ear for dialogue". I shall always hold those memories dear. There are not many times when you can touch someone's life in such a meaningful way and Jim did that for a lot of us who knew him. I weep for his passing. My condolences go out to all who loved him.
Nora Jean Gatine, San Francisco, CA
Nora Jean Gatine
September 16, 2009
FOR JIM CARROLL....

There are over five thousand pieces of art in the cloisters
Each vignette intones its soliloquy in honor tonight
Of you
and centuries
Unfolding in your odes to the city of rooftops…

Stars merely
A ceiling you held up like a prism
Refracting the light of your habit for structured romance
And insolent design
the edifice of words….

Tenements scream your name Catholic boy
Shooting galleries are closed for business
Monkeys do not usually take the night off
But, tonight
In your honor
They rest in the pillows of tar beaches…

I imagine you in a place where sleep is finally a comfort
The monkey can no longer chide you with the insults
And Inwood night sweats…

Rest well Catholic Boy
We will need you when we invade the library
One last time…
Dennis Deja
September 16, 2009
Thank you Jim, for all you were. Your words have changed me, and I just wanted to say thanks. You will be missed, and remembered. Blessed Be.
Jessica Collins
September 16, 2009
Jim was one of my all time favorite voices. I loved watching and listening to him.
I was hoping I would seem him again.
He is missed-Sandi Long beach CA
sandi
September 16, 2009
I'm not sure how long it will take for this news to really sink in. I was fortunate enough to see Jim read twice and meet him afterward both times. The first time, I was so shrunken and awestruck by his presence that I could only ask for a hug. He gave it to me, and much to my surprise, it was not a quick, weak squeeze or a one-armed air hug but a genuine embrace. I went back to that embrace and found some comfort when I heard the news. Words cannot describe how enormous his work loomed in my formative teenage years. There is no doubt that I would be a subtly different person without him. His work has lost no meaning to me with time, as I've discovered re-reading his poetry over the last few days. His absence is palpable and to say that he will be missed is an understatement of colossal proportion. Rest In Peace, JC.
September 16, 2009
Jim, you will be with me always through your words and music. Rest In Peace my brother. joey p.
Joseph Papaleo
September 16, 2009
I'm not sure how long it will take for this news to really sink in. I was fortunate enough to see Jim read twice and meet him afterward both times. The first time, I was so shrunken and awestruck by his presence that I could only ask for a hug. He gave it to me, and much to my surprise, it was not a quick, weak squeeze or a one-armed air hug but a genuine embrace. I went back to that embrace and found some comfort when I heard the news. Words cannot describe how enormous his work loomed in my formative teenage years. There is no doubt that I would be a subtly different person without him. His work has lost no meaning to me with time, as I've discovered re-reading his poetry over the last few days. His absence is palpable and to say that he will be missed is an understatement of colossal proportion. Rest In Peace, JC.
Sarah
September 16, 2009
rip, jim
kristi marcus
saratoga springs, new york
September 16, 2009
Reading Basketball Diaries as a young teen changed my life. Saw the Jim Carrol Band perform in SF on my nineteenth birthday. Thank you for everything Jim. Blessed be.
Jennifer Edmonds
September 16, 2009
Vaya con Dios Jim,
So many lives were touched by your unique writings. You will be missed
.Yvonne
Yvonne Le Fort
September 16, 2009
I remember being told that Jim was a native New Yorker and that Basketball Diaries was a story of his childhood.

My sincere condolences to his family and friends. I feel like I was also his friend - a native New Yorker myself.

Rest In Peace Jim Carroll; it's been a tough month as I have lost 2 high school friends (brothers) in the past 3 weeks.

All of you were too young to pass.

Bob from Northern NY
Bob Wells
September 16, 2009
sorry to hear that we lost a wonderful person like jim. he was a great man with a great artisic soul. i got to meet jim back in 1998 for a poetry reading. i love his work, he will be missed
forrest bowman
September 16, 2009
Goodbye, Jim.
davide ravera
September 16, 2009
I'm a little younger, but a fellow NYer and recovering addict. I always vibed with your quests for purification, and now you are! Fly free to the source brother!

Blessings to you family and friends
Will Carroll
September 16, 2009
Growing up in NY, a little younger, and a fellow recovering addict- I vibed with your vision and quests for purification...Fly free to the source brother!
Will Carroll
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