Monday, September 28, 2009

Ryan Adams Spoke At New York Public Library - Pictures, Review

On Saturday night we stopped in to check out Ryan Adams at New York Public Library's "Live" series. Adams spoke with actress Mary Louise Parker for about an hour and a half, and delivered a perspective on art and writing that was insightful, balanced, and funny all at the same time. There may be detractors out there of Mr. Adams new, more artsy, pursuits, but after Saturday's talk, consider us convinced.

The pairing, which seemed odd at first, was actually pretty natural: apparently Louise Parker and Adams used to live next to each other in New York, and are quite good friends. Not only are they that, but apparently both are quite well schooled in the current state of modern poetry. It was clear from the outset that they both took a great deal of delight in reading and discussing poems, and do so regularly.

Much of the talk centered around the work of poet Mark Strand, but about half way through things got more focused on Adams' own work. Apparently writing was Adams' first love, and music was simply a second option. The fact that he now has the opportunity to pursue both is a testament to his success as a musician, and as the talk closed Adams was good enough to recite his poem "Plus Dreams". It was delightful, and we highly recommend - haters be damned.

Here are some of our favorite quotes from Adams over the course of the evening:

  • "There's a certain amount of Dukes Of Hazzard in me, you can't extract it"
  • (on re-reading poetry) "it's like led zepplin iii - a let down when your sixteen, but when you're 24 and someone dumps you and gives you a j'..."
  • "poetry is singing for people who choose to live without melody"
  • (on Auden) "He came from a time when there was only one way to go. Well, two ways; the other way was straight to hell!"
  • "There's a table, and there's your balls. You can put them on the table, or you can walk away."
  • "you gave me a gift when you left that milk out for my stray cat soul"
  • (on how art influences poetry) "I've written a lot of poems about hot girls at art museums. Seriously."
  • "the pink elephant is dirty"
Pictures by Peter Foley, courtesy NYPL


Hanan said...

you know, at first I thought it was weird that you reviewed a speech but those quotes were genius
great post!