The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Jim Carroll, author of 'The Basketball Diaries,' read poetry and other writings. He's nothing like Leonardo DiCaprio, who played him in the movie version of his autobiographical novel, The Basketball Diaries, but at least Jim Carroll's clean and sober. Carroll -- a noted author, poet and musician -- gave a spoken word presentation Tuesday night at Meyerson Hall as part of Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week. The week -- which is sponsored by the Drug and Alcohol Resource Team, Connaissance and the Kelly Writers House -- is designed to draw attention to the issues of drug and alcohol abuse on campus. Health educator Kate Ward-Gaus, who serves as DART's adviser, said she chose Carroll to speak because he "is a person who talks about his own experiences in a very honest, graphic way." Carroll, a resident of New York City, is best known for his autobiographical work, The Basketball Diaries, which describe his experiences with heroin addiction as a teenager in 1963. The book was made into a movie starring DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg in 1995. Carroll began his presentation to the crowd of over 100 people with selections from another autobiographical work, Forced Entries, which detail his struggles with drug addiction during his early 20s. He also read selections from his new book of poems, entitled Void of Course. The poems deal with various topics, ranging from sex to drug abuse. Carroll noted that this new collection has no central theme. "It's hard to say what a book of poetry is about," he said. "I try to make the poems abstract enough so different people can interpret them in different ways." He also read a poem entitled "Eight Fragments for Curt Cobain," which he wrote in honor of the deceased lead singer of the band Nirvana. Carroll has been a rock star himself. During the 1980s he performed with his rock group called the Jim Carroll Band. According to Carroll, drugs -- especially cocaine -- were prevalent in the music industry at that time. "[Cocaine] is a good musician's drug," he said. "It keeps you going." "But the crash isn't worth the high," he added. "Of all the drugs I did, cocaine was the most demonic." Although he has struggled with drug problems in the past, Carroll said he has beaten the addiction. "I'd like to smoke weed, but the pace of New York is so speedy, you know, and you have to do pot at your own pace," he said. Following the presentation, students had the opportunity to attend a book signing and talk more intimately with the author. Carroll's works -- which were at times interspersed with humorous anecdotes -- were received with bursts of laughter from the students. At one point, Carroll told a story in which he went to a poetry reading with a live cockroach, only to kill the bug with a spritz of Raid moments later before a surprised but delighted audience. Several students said they found Carroll's reading impressive. "His presentation didn't have the focus that I wanted, but I thought his poems were very intriguing," College senior Jordie Hannum said of the presentation.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.