Doped Up or Deep Thinker? For my book review I chose to read and write about Jim Morrison, the late frontman of The Doors. I had always heard how wonderful his poetry and how great a thinker he was and I wanted to find out for myself. I have never been a fan of The Doors' music but I have an open mind, so I decided to tackle the poems of Morrison. In reading The American Night there were several things that stood out in my mind. One was that many of the poems were ramblings of a stoned, depressed man. Speaking to several of my friends who are Morrison fans, they said it is hard to understand a lot of what he is saying without tripping. Nevertheless, a couple of poems did stand out for their vivid imagery and story-like quality. The original version of "Moonlight Drive," the performance piece, "An American Prayer," and "The Wild Whore Laughs" all contain wonderful images and great use of language.
Concentrating less on form and more on the content, Morrison's poetry takes the reader on journeys through the depths of his imagine and the tortures of his soul. After reading this book, it was very clear that Morrison thought and felt on a different level than the majority of people around him. Whether he was demented or a genius depends on the reader's point of view. In "Moonlight Drive" Morrison speaks of taking a girl on a moonlight drive and the images he uses takes the reader to the moon, different worlds, and the ocean.
Let's swim to the moon Let's climb thru the tide Penetrate the evenin' That the city sleeps to hide Let's swim out tonight, love It's our turn to try Parked beside the ocean On our moonlight drive.
Morrison also uses repetition throughout this poem, ending each strophe, save the last with "moonlight drive." The idea of swimming to the moon, and climbing thru the tide really appealed to my senses and I sat with my eyes shut imagining what that would actually be like.
Morrison also does not seem to follow any particular pattern in his work, as do many poets. No certain structure stands out, any rhythm, flow or syllable use. Morrison wrote from the heart and let his pen flow with ink and all the different types of patterns were left to chance. The only main pattern that stood out beyond all else was his use of a questioning phrase, whether it had a question mark at the end or not. "An American Prayer" is a good example of all of these statements. In his longest poem, he questions whether anyone is really alive or if we are part of a big movie. Being an avid movie fan, I liked the comparison. "An American Prayer" is broken up into different parts as well, and I am unsure whether he wrote them at different stages in his life or if he was just in stages of moods for an evening. Some parts of this epic rhyme, while others seem incoherent ramblings. The resulting work is a spiraling tale in and out of reality and through the mind of Morrison.
The only other possible constant in Morrison's poetry is the use of capitalization used seemingly at random times. In "The Wild Whore Laughs" the first line reads, "The Wild whore laughs." Throughout the rest of this poem the only capitalization is done at the beginning of a line, so why would the word wild be capitalized? I think the word wild meant a lot in Morrison's life. His run-ins with the law were always well publicized and that is why I believe he wanted this word to stand out at the beginning of the poem. Also the fact it is at the beginning says a great deal about the importance of this word, not only to this particular poem, but in Morrison's life as well.
I don't believe that Jim Morrison will ever be a favorite poet of mine, there is a certain quality about his work that does appeal to me. His willingness to be free of rules and format and structure has sincerity to it. It makes his work seem very honest and from the heart. His vivid imagery may very well be attributed to his drug use, but whatever the reason, the reader is treated to powerful thoughts. I am still unsure what he is saying in most of his work, but in between the confusion are bona fide gems, which made this book a worthwhile read.