To pick up where I left off, the Ryan Adams + Mary-Louise Parker talk at the NYPL on Friday was pretty great. Structured as a casual conversation between the two poetry lovers, NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber gave a very brief intro before handing the stage over to the old friends (for three years they were neighbors).
Much of the first half of the discussion was peppered with references to Mary-Louise’s friend, poet and Columbia University professor Mark Strand, who both credited with widening their horizons and understanding of poetry.
Ryan spoke at length about how he imagines a big gang of people with “unhappy face shirts on” just waiting to tear him down. On putting his work and himself out in the world for public consumption, Ryan commented that when something is seeing as being “too artistic” people tend to paint it as coming form a place of “self-entitlement,” for Ryan it’s more of an opportunity for pure expression, that in general he feels his work doesn’t always stimulate the intellect, but does stimulate emotion.
Mary-Louise elaborated on the discussion of the mob mentality of critics by saying that for people who are the the public eye, there is very real hurt that comes with hearing criticism. Talking about anonymous internet commentators, Mary-Louise commented that “the voice that’s going to be heard is the meanest voice in the room.”
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