Book Review: Johnny Cash, Forever Words


Since his first recordings in 1955, Johnny Cash has been an icon in the music world. In his newly discovered poems and song lyrics, we see the world through his eyes. The poetry reveals his depth of understanding, both of the world around him and within – his frailties and his strengths alike. He pens verses in his hallmark voice, reflecting upon love, pain, freedom, fame and mortality.

Illustrated with facsimile reproductions of Cash’s own handwritten pages, Forever Words is a remarkable new addition to the canon of one of America’s heroes. His music is a part of our collective history, but here he demonstrates the depth of his talent as a writer.

-Goodreads Summary

This book of poetry from Johnny Cash was collected by his son after his death. When I first picked it up I wasn’t sure what to expect. I love his music, but most songs don’t read like poetry. Music needs to be listened to, it’s in its nature. Yet as I read it, I found that it was like most books of poetry I have read, and it took me deep into the emotions of Cash.

Everyone who has seen Walk the Line knows that Johnny Cash had a complex history. He struggled with everything from addiction to depression, but this book brings to light exactly what the forward written by his son hoped it would. It brought forward the insights and the more scholarly side of Cash, one that dipped deep into the ideas of morality, God, and human will.

I didn’t have high expectations for this book, but as I walked through the bookstore it jumped out at me. I thought it was neat how it had the typed poems but also scans of his hand written notes from decades ago. It was a quick read, but a nice one and one I’d recommend to Cash fans.

Now that I’ve finished it I feel the need to pick up some more poetry, a genre that I really haven’t read outside of college and my own scribbling.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and would give it a four out of five star rating.

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