October 20th, 2011 / 10:11 am

Yesterday I finally got a chance to read Dennis Cooper’s superlative interview in the new Paris Review. If you haven’t read it yet, you should treat yourself.

One thing that struck me was at the beginning when Dennis explains that he got interested in literature because he read an interview with Bob Dylan where Dylan mentioned Rimbaud. I had a similar experience in that I came to literature through Jim Morrison. I wonder how many other people found their way to books through musicians?


  1. Justindtaylor
  2. Justindtaylor

      Also, yeah, that interview–holy shit! The Nicholson Baker one in the same issue is great, too. Fascinating to compare the two writers’ views on sex writing, which are in each case quite pronounced and it turns out diametrically opposed to one another.

  3. alan

      “To me, rimming is the most charismatic sex act. Something about combining the face, which is the body’s most telling and detailed part, with the ass, which is a similarly compelling body part but for opposite reasons–given its plainness and inexpressiveness, its lowly status as a seat cushion and waste-disposal mechanism, contrasted with its high status as a sex-object and aesthetic high point on the body–fascinates me. The way the face and ass affect each other physically and technically during the act of rimming has an emotional charge and is choreographically interesting. In the moment of exploring someone’s ass, you know things that the recipient can’t know because, due to the way the body is constructed, the ass and asshole are hardly available to their owner. You can handle and finger them, but even to see them properly requires the use of mirrors and awkward poses. When you rim someone, you’re getting to know him intimately in a way he can’t know himself. You can be entirely alone with him, unwatched, his judgment unknown and abstract. You have power over him and, at the same time, the act has subservient associations–“you can kiss my ass,” et cetera–so you’re worshipping him as well.

      “Also, for all the charisma that rimming has, as an idea and from a third-party perspective, it’s quite a simple act in practice. There’s only so much a face can do to an ass and asshole, so it’s an act that happens largely in both parties’ imaginations, and that makes it very interesting and challenging to write about.”

  4. Scottmcclanahan

      A big yes to No One Here Gets Out Alive.  

  5. goner

      Stephen Malkmus mentioned in an interview while Pavement was recording Brighten the Corners that he was ripping off a lot of his lyrics by reading Hotel Lautreamont by John Ashbery, so that led me to Ashbery. And then years before that Henry Rollins championed Hubert Selby Jr. and that’s how I learned about him.

  6. Mungscum

      I read an interview with the singer of Pennywise and he mentioned Dave Eggers. I was around fourteen or fifteen. I don’t really like Eggers anymore but it started my interest in literature. 

  7. Mr. Ian M. Belcurry

      I loved the DC interview also. I came to Rimbaud and literature in ways through Jim Morrison and Jack Kerouac. I liked drug books, and still do. I read “RIMBAUD AND JIM MORRISON: The Rebel as Poet – A Memoir” about 10 yrs ago, which was really good (And similar to a memoir/lit critism called “A year reading Proust” (I also recommend; makes Proust readable/relatable in ways)). Now I’m kind of embarassed to like the Doors and Kerouac–though I still love Kerouac. And the Doors. I heard of Bret Easton Ellis in an interview in High Times magazine and read American Pyscho b/c of it, and many more after. I also learnt of Hunter S. Thompson in the Big Brother skatemagazine, a few years before the movie came out; it had the quote of all the drugs he had in his trunk of their convertable. 

  8. Mungscum

      Big Brother! RIP.

  9. Mr. Ian M. Belcurry

      great link, thanks

  10. ab
  11. Rich Baiocco

      the liner notes to the Bonnie Prince Billy record Superwolf had a long quote from some Paul Bowles text, leading me to seek out the Bowles autobiography ‘Without Stopping’, which itself is something of a name-dropped catalogue of artists, musicians, philosophers and books to open up your world.

      also, does anybody remember there was a scene in The Doors movie where a pre-fame, maybe pre-Doors, Jim Morrison takes pamela up to the moonlit roof he is crashing on, and the camera pans across a scatter of books like Season In Hell, Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, some Marshall Macluhan, and maybe, like, Bresson’s cinematography book or some Baitailles?  I remember getting into all that shit…and then watching Real Genius and being like ‘Val Kilmer has it pretty good’. 

  12. Nick

      i remember once upon a time reading something on Ler the guitar player from Primus where he mentioned touring europe and taking Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to read during the ten hour overseas flight. at the time i was playing music, smoking a lot of pot and not reading anything outside of the occasion rock bio; now i have an english degree and have read more or less the complete works of delillo, hemingway, mccarthy, beckett, dostoevsky, et al. funny how these things happen.

  13. derick dupre

      During lunch hours I kept getting my ass kicked by the marching band, so I’d retreat to the library and stalk the stacks. Now I’m an unpublished writer and I couldn’t thank those brass jockeys enough.

  14. Daniel Bailey

      i think my transition to poetry had a lot to do with discovering the silver jews about midway through college, reading their lyrics in the liner notes over and over (particularly those in american water and the natural bridge), and then moving on to berman’s poetry book. all of this happened at about the same time i took a poetry class with peter davis, who was also making really cool music with great lyrics. 

  15. M. Kitchell

      loved the interview, of course, but outside of stuff re: The Marbled Swarm I was a little bummed that it repeats a lot of stuff that’s discussed in more detail in the interview Robert Gluck had with him years back, but hey I guess this is being read by a hella bigger audience

  16. gina

      i did not come to books through music, for the most part, but i did read “the virgin suicides” because tori amos mentioned it in an interview in the ’90s.

  17. Andrew

      We’ve discussed this!

  18. Andreww

      Morrison mostly got me into the Beats, from the Beats I got the great poets (via Ginsberg) the great American novelists (via Kerouac) and everything else great (via Burroughs)

  19. 'Guillaume Morissette'

      I think of ‘reconstruction site’ by the weakerthans in those terms. also I owe invisible cities to jonathan blow, the guy who did a videogame called braid, who mentioned it as inspiration in an interview.

  20. Christopher Higgs
  21. Christopher Higgs

      That Wallace Fowlie book (Morrison/Rimbaud) was great.  I read and enjoyed that one when I was younger.  To the sixteen year old version of me, it made Morrison seem even cooler because it put him in this other pantheon — not just a rock star, but an immortal poet rock star.

  22. Christopher Higgs

      Rich, I sure do remember the scene you’re describing in Oliver Stone’s The Doors.  I loved/love that movie!

  23. alex crowley

      I got into Moby-Dick via Mastodon’s Leviathan and it’s now my favorite book.

      It also seems pretty common for punk rock to get kids into lefty/anarcho sociology & politics books.

  24. Richard

      Patti Smith was mine…

  25. Marcus Berley

      I learned about the I Ching from Dead Prez.