"I see myself as a huge fiery comet, a shooting star. Everyone stops, points up and gasps "Oh look at that!" Then- whoosh, and I'm gone...and they'll never see anything like it ever again... and they won't be able to forget me- ever."

--Jim Morrison

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Back Door Man - First and Foremost a Poet

While best known as the lead singer of The Doors, Jim Morrison was (above all) a poet at heart.  His songs were pure poetry, and most people believe that he used his popularity as a musical heartthrob as a way to share his poetry with the world.  While much more famous and revered as a singer, the fact of the matter is that in his own heart he was only a second-rate singer – something that gave him a lot of grief – but he was a first rate poet, perhaps one of the best.

In fact, the name of Jim’s band, The Doors, was actually rooted in a William Blake quote:

“When the doors of perception are cleansed, man will see things as they truly are, infinite.”

It was possibly an attempt to see Blake's promised infinity that initially influenced Jim to begin his much touted relationship with psychedelics.

While Jim began writing poetry from as early as his adolescence (and while the songs he wrote were based on his poetry in many cases) he didn’t publish any poetry until 1969.  During that year, at the height of The Doors’ fame, he published two separate volumes: The Lords/Notes on Vision and The New Creatures.  The two volumes varied widely in content and theme, with The Lords being more descriptions and commentary and The New Creatures being vastly more poetic.   Eventually the books were reprinted as a single edition called The Lords and The New Creatures.  They were the only writing of any kind Jim ever published during his life. 

And while they were far from critically acclaimed at the time, today first editions of either of his poetry collections sell for thousands of dollars - when you can find them.

Despite the fact that his poetry was not well received, Jim spent the last months of his life on hiatus from the Doors, wandering the streets of Paris jotting down lines of poetry – proving to everyone that his first and most enduring love was the love he had for his poetic muse.

--Jim in Paris, 1971

1 comment:

  1. Did you know that Jim's critics made a huge deal about h8ing his poetry and a lot of ppl think that is part of the reason he spiraled downward so fast???? I dnt think he really expected to be so h8ted as a poet when he was already so loved as a singer - it really made him dout himself.