Poetry News

Tom Waits: Jockey full of bourbon, poet

By Harriet Staff

Tom Waits is collaborating with photojournalist Michael O'Brien on a book of poetry and photos about those who "live on the hard ground." A contemporary take on James Agee and Walker Evans's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men with the homeless as its subject rather than Dustbowl farmers and sharecroppers, this is Tom Waits's first book of poetry.

The Guardian cites a 1975 quote that may shed some light on why it's taken so long for Waits to commit to act upon his New York Times-bestowed title as "the poet of outcasts:"

"...poetry is a very dangerous word." "I don't like the stigma that comes with being called a poet," he said. "So I call what I'm doing an improvisational adventure or an inebriational travelogue."

Originally Published: November 24th, 2010