Infinity Blues: By Ryan Adams, 275 pgs. By Frame

May 14, 2009

I might as well come right out and admit that I do not understand or have any sort of appreciation for poetry. I feel so unknowledgeable about the topic of poetry that I do not even feel that I can give an idea of whether a poem is good or bad. It just does not make any sense to me. When I read it, I feel like I may as well be looking at plans to assemble a machine or the molecular makeup of something. It just does not compute and I have spent enough time trying that I have to realize it is just not my thing.
I have a very strong opinion about Ryan Adams, however, so I was interested to check out this book when I received it for review. Ryan Adams is one of the most frustrating songwriters I have ever encountered. About seventy percent of what he releases does not interest me in the least and I have not grown to appreciate his dramatic style of dealing with the press and crowds at his concerts.
That other thirty percent though…. When he is on, as with the Cold Roses double LP, he is one of the greatest songwriters who has ever existed. I do not understand how these disparate styles can come from the same person. I have found this strange for a long time now.
So, yeah, Infinity Blues is 275 pages of poetry from Ryan Adams. Akashic Books did a great job with the package. The cover and the paper are high quality and look great. I read several of the poems and they seem the same as any other poetry I have read, which is to say I did not understand it and would have absolutely no idea whether it is good or not. If you are a fan of poetry, I would recommend checking it out. Someone who is one of the best songwriters in the whole world thirty percent of the time is likely to be quite a poet as well. Ryan Adams certainly knows how to turn a phrase and that seems to be highly prized quality when composing something along the lines of a book like this. –Mike Frame (Akashic Books)