Like all good writers before him, Jim Morrison was a voracious reader from an early age. He consumed Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, Arthur Rimbaud’s proto-Modern poetry and the work of philosophers and poets such as William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Louis Ferdinand Celine, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Baudelaire, Molière, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Honoré de Black and Jean Cocteau. He was influenced by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and absorbed his views on aesthetics, morality, and the Apollonian and Dionysian duality.

Morrison began writing in earnest during his adolescence, but it was during his time at UCLA while he studied the related fields of theater, film, and cinematography. In 1968 Morrison published two volumes of his poetry, The Lords / Notes on Vision and The New Creatures. Where The Lords consists primarily of brief vignettes, The New Creatures is more traditional in structure, feel and appearance. Both books, the only writings published during his lifetime, were eventually combined into a single collection, The Lords and The New Creatures. Wilderness: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison Volume 1 was originally published in 1988 and became an instant New York Times bestseller. Its sequel, The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison Volume II: The American Night, was released two years later and was met with critical acclaim.

Morrison recorded his own poetry professionally on just two occasions. The first session was in Los Angeles during March of 1969. Some of the segments from this session were issued on the bootleg album

The Lost Paris Tapes and later on An American Prayer, The Doors’ 1978 album which reached #54 on the Billboard charts. The second session featured a variety of sketch pieces alongside the poetry and included some of Morrison’s personal friends in attendance.