"The Lords and the New Creatures" is a book of poetry by Jim Morrison. It was first published in 1970. The book actually consists of two separate works "The Lords" and "The New Creatures". "The Lords" is less poetry than a series of aphorisms on the relationship between the artist and the audience. "The New Creatures" is poetry, although free form poetry.

Take a moment to imagine what a book of Jim Morrison's poetry would be like. In fact, preface that by taking a moment to imagine what any book of rock star poetry is like. Are your images and stereotypes firmly in place? Good.

What you probably imagined is true. You might have imagined something pretentious and self-involved, full of provocative imagery that ends up not meaning anything. If so, you've pretty much guessed the gist of the book. It also suffers from formatting problems. For example, each aphoristic saying in "The Lords" gets its own page, so that this is Page 37 in its entirety:

Cure blindness with a whore's spittle.
Which is both terrible medical advice and a tremendous waste of paper. Later, in "The New Creatures", there are roman numerals at the top of some pages, which makes me think that they are chapters of the same poem, only sometimes the roman numerals go away. And then come back again. I was unclear whether "The New Creatures" was one long poem, or a collection of smaller poems. I guess that strict structure is not what I should be looking for in a book of Jim Morrison's poetry.

But attacking rock star poetry is kind of cheap: so I should say that there are a few things that I found promising about this book. The first section, "The Lords" is about the relationship between artist, audience and media. This is something that we have heard endless analysis of in the past few decades, by people who are more articulate than Jim Morrison, but in fairness, when he was writing the book, it was a much less common subject of discussion. So he does get points for originality.

Secondly, Jim Morrison had a very distinctive singing voice, and his writing voice is also distinctive. Listening to the Doors always gave me the mental image of things dark and fecund, like I was walking through a smoky purple jungle, and Jim Morrison's poetry has the same distinct feel to it. Its not always to my taste, but when I read lines like

Wounds, stags & arrows
Hooded flashing legs plunge
near the tranquil women.
Startling obedience from the pool people.
Astonishing caves to plunder.
It sounds like Jim Morrison, developing his own distinct way to express himself. So even though I can't claim that this book of poetry is quality literature as opposed to a rock star who took a bunch of drugs and scrawled out whatever was running through his mind, I could believe that if he had lived longer and acquired some self-discipline, Jim Morrison could have written some fairly good poetry.

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