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Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems (Poets, Penguin) Paperback – November 1, 1993

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4 Stars and Up Feature: Kitchens of the Great Midwest
"Foodies and those who love contemporary literature will devour this novel that is being compared to Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge. A standout." --Library Journal Learn more
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Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems (Poets, Penguin) + Forced Entries: The Downtown Diaries: 1971-1973 + The Basketball Diaries
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This volume combines two previous collections of Carroll's poetry, Living at the Movies and The Book of Nods , with several recent unpublished works.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Two new entries in the "Penguin Poets" series examine poetry at its most modish on both coasts. Carroll's East Coast disjunctive poems and hard urban prose "nods" are kinetic and ebullient. A selection of 20 years of his work overlays the worlds of Al Bundy and Hieronymus Bosch: "The shower of black infants across the infected landscape" dissolves into "the disappearance of boundaries/ on a sea, filthy and darkened with bodies." One is captivated by the imagery ("bloodstained sombreros") that depicts the "post-meltdown" nature of anxiety but disappointed that life as seen from New York City streets offers so little compassion. Lacking O'Hara's reckless sense of longing or Ashbery's wise allusiveness, these works are recommended for those who enjoy contemporary urban poetry. Shorn of the music of the Grateful Dead (he is the group's "primary lyricist"), Hunter's narrow-lined West Coast light verse has a childlike intensity. He celebrates "a beatific bebop vision": San Francisco, poetry, and the need for freedom. "Weaponed with words," Hunter's poetic consciousness is both bizarre and commonplace (e.g., "a tongue of swords" explodes "the pus sac of deep profanity"). Suggesting a blend of the Partridge Family and Allen Ginsberg, Hunter has a frame of reference of never-never land pseudomysticism ("Tantric ecstasy," "Magus of Thebes"), lost happiness, and sappy nuggets of wisdom. Like his "Sonnets in Stone," Hunter's lyrics are "primitive with punctuation, grieving for/ long-lost loves of the future, restless and/ ill-amused." Recommended for young readers and high school creative writing classes.
- Frank Allen, West Virginia State Coll., Institute
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Poets, Penguin
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; First Edition edition (November 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140586954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140586954
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
Jim Carroll is by far one of my favorite poets. He sees so much deeper than most people. The words and even fonts he uses sucks you in and you feel as though you have been transported to another world. I first got interested in his poetry when I saw "The Basketball Diaries" with Leonardo DiCaprio, and the poetry made the movie even more powerful than it already was. I left the theatre stunned. I then went to a reading of Carroll's poetry at Seton Hall University, and was fortunate enough to meet him. He is an amazing guy. The poems are deep and their power and emotion pervade your body so that you can never forget them. People think that becuse Carroll writes modern poetry, that his poems are trash. That is certainly the opposite of what they are, and I think that his poems are more interesting than poets who write the lovey-dovey, rhyming type stuff. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to be swept away in the urban-like poetry of today.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By katiana on November 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
this book is incredible. "to the secret poets of kansas" is by far one of the most wonderful poemsi have ever read. i encourage anyone who is looking for poetry to read and savor these poems, they are certainly worth it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is a must have for teenagers. Jim Carrol describes the pain and suffering that he has gone through very beautifully. He is able to compute messages throughout his poems. What makes it even better is that you know that he has been through all of that past with drugs, and he has come back as a improved person. His poems show this.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steven J. Conifer on November 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
While not every poem in FEAR OF DREAMING is particularly great, most of the poetry included therein is EXTREMELY great, and considerably poignant. I love Jim Carroll's work and found this to be one of his best collections yet. A must-have volume for all Carroll fans and any avid fan of poetry (especially that of the modern era).
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Jim Carroll's poetry has appeared sporadically over the years in small, relatively difficult-to-locate collections ("Living At the Movies", "The Book of Nods"), so I was relieved to find this on the shelf. His work is an odd kind of majesty, a masterful coagulation of the early decadents, the modernists, the beats, stellar figures like Rimbaud and Baudelaire, yet with a voice all his own. He gracefully charts the map from humorous to solemn, sacred to profane, personal to universal without skipping a beat. He is a magician of images, and in the tradition of his predecessors weds seamlessly the most disconnected visions: "The ambulance passes/we sit up/pinned eyes of nuns that genuflect between stars/ambassadors on marble staircases in steam tropics..."Midnight" pg. 80). After having read "The Basketball Diaries" I feared that Carroll's poetry would be bitching and whining over his checkered and painful past, but nothing could be further from the truth. He seems to take the attitude of a grateful warrior to his time spent shooting dope, losing the friends he pays homage to without self pity: ("Some detectives in worn suits slide at my door/They told me Eddie was dead on Lexington and 103/stabbed in the jugular at mid-day/outside two automated hospital doors/He often walked East Harlem after dark, high on reds, calling out the black man/And I salute you, my brother. "New York City Variations" pg. 183).

Most of Carroll's poetry, though, is the product of his own imagination and only refers to his youth when necessary. He is obviously aware, though, of the parallels drawn between his and the chaotic life of Arthur Rimbaud with his enchanting prose pieces like "Rimbaud Goes To the Dentist".
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Format: Paperback
This is a beautifully written book of poetry and prose. It introduced me to Jim Carroll, leading me to read The Basketball Diaries and pick up anything I could get my hands on that he wrote. This book of poetry remains my favorite. The pages are marked and dog eared, which is, in my opinion, proof of a wonderful book. I'd like to buy another copy so it can remain, unmarked and pristine, on my bookshelf. I would recomend this to anyone who enjoys reading poetry. Something in here will resonate with your spirit. RIP, Jim Carroll. Poets like you only come around once in a lifetime.
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Format: Paperback
Fear of Dreaming is the most interesting book of poetry I have ever owned. It is what inspired me to become a poet. I would recommend it to anyone... even if they didn't like poetry. This book just might change their mind.

Carroll's writing and imagery are as original as it gets.
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By Ally on January 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I originally saw the movie The Basketball Diaries, and i loved it. I loved all of his poems that they displayed in the movie. Some of which are in this book. When Jim Carroll writes, i feel like i am there. His words so framiliar to me, it's liking traveling without even leaving my room.
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