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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bob Dylan wins 2016 Nobel Prize in literature

Holy ba-goly. Bob Dylan is a Nobel laureate.

I love it.

Songs are poetry and surely while he has some stinkers, many of his songs likely will last. Surely the impact of the second stanza of Blowing in the Wind helped the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s:
Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
He was 21 when he wrote that.

From AFP:
US music legend Bob Dylan, whose poetic lyrics have influenced generations of fans, won the Nobel Literature Prize on Thursday, the first songwriter to win the award in a decision that stunned prize watchers.
The 75-year-old was honoured "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition", the Swedish Academy said.
The choice was met by gasps and a long round of spontaneous applause from journalists attending the prize announcement. The folk rock singer had been mentioned in Nobel speculation over the years, but was never seen as a serious contender.
The Academy's permanent secretary Sara Danius said Dylan's songs were "poetry for the ears" while acknowledging that some might find Dylan a "strange" choice.
"... if you think back to Homer and Sappho, you realise that was also aural poetry. It was meant to be performed, together with instruments," she said.
"But we still read them, 2,500-some years later... And in much the same way you can read Bob Dylan too. And you realise that he is great at rhyming, great at putting together refrains and great at poetic images," she told AFP.
Screw Homer and Sappho. How about David? Psalms will last as long as there is a Bible.

And aural poetry or go home.

Often imitated, occasionally parodied (Let It All Hang Out), Dylan is an American original. I congratulate him.

UPDATE: I daresay more people have heard Bob Dylan than read Svetlana Alexievich, last year's winner.

16 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. He ain't tryin' ta be, neither. Kipling was into longer-form writing. We'll see (OK, I won't live that long) how he does in 80 years (Kipling died in '36).

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  2. Gee, what happened to the Hillary pays for Trump protesters post?

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  3. And I was standin on the side of the road
    Rain fallin on my shoes
    Headin out to the East Coast
    Lord knows I paid some dues
    Gettin through
    Tangled up in blue

    Congratulations, Mr. Zimmerman. You totally deserve this. Live long and prosper, brother...

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    Replies
    1. +1 for that one, Z, what a great song. "Blood on the Tracks" has been my favorite Dylan album by a wide margin for decades. Never gets old. Great music, great lyrics, inspired playing, it's all there.

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    2. Yup, Jeff. Mine too. Just when everybody started writing him off, he dropped this masterwork on their heads. It's brilliant stuff.

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  4. Well, Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize. They might as well start putting Nobel Prizes in Cracker Jack boxes. - Elric

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    Replies
    1. Nobel prizes now given for participating.

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  5. Real poets looking for ponds to drown themselves, looking for posthumous fame. I would prefer Brad Thor, at least he is understandable.

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    Replies
    1. The ponds should be full of our national "poet laureates." I don't think we've had even one since JFK's time that was worth a hill of beans.
      At least Bob Dylan's stuff was entertaining and not painful. Too bad he hasn't been able to sing worth a hoot since the 80s.

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    2. I recall reading that Maya Angelou knows the reason why Caged Birds Sing is that there's marijuana seeds in that birdseed.

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  6. So with all the crazy and depressing bullshit in 2016, this redeems it a tiny bit. Tough hill to climb though.

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  7. Bob Dylan and Don Surber have something in common that can be summed up in one word... "discord".

    That's not an insult, by the way. Read the following quote from J. F. Archibald to find out what I'm talking about.

    "On all public questions the press are apt to sing in chorus. If you go to a concert you may hear a man sing a discord which is put there by the composer, and that discord catches the ear over the voices of the chorus. Well, don't be afraid to sing the discord. Even if you are wrong, you will have drawn attention to what you want to say, and you may be right. In my experience the man who sings the discord is generally right nowadays."

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    Replies
    1. I gots dis cord, and dat cord.

      Thanks.

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  8. Can' wait for the Nobel committee to discover the old Dick and Jane books. If Dylan can win for his dopey songs Dick and Jane should earn a truckload of Nobels. Remember the scintillating verse:

    See Dick throw the ball to Spot.
    Run Spot run!
    See Jane and Sally play with Puff.
    Funny Puff!


    But what am I saying?! Dick, Jane, and Sally (and probably Spot and Puff) are White Colonial Zionist Oppressors.

    Besides - I don't think anyone on the Nobel committee can read at the level of Dick and Jane books anyway.

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