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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Bod Dylan and the Nobel Prize for Literature

I am not going to defend or even comment on the Nobel Committees choice, for this or other awards.  What do I know? I pretty much do not get quite a lot of poetry, but I am not going to say that a poet is undeserving of the award.  I can say that in the past week or so that I have listened to quite a lot of his music and it speaks to me.  And apparently I am not alone.  But I also may not have as much company as I might have thought.
There have certainly been recipients that I don't admire as much as others, but this is the Swedish Academy's prize to give.  Their usual one line reason was this: "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".  I can't argue with that.  What a lot of people have argued is that this is not a good reason to get an award for literature, but I don't see it as my place to comment on that.  The award has its own prestige, which has been amassed over the decades that it has been given, and it speaks for itself.  It is simply not my choice.
What this does do is to change the way that I view the hours and hours that I spent as a youth listening to Dylan.  He has been prolific throughout his lifetime as a songwriter and even in my teens I had a dozen albums of his work.  The sixties and into the seventies were an era of ballad writing and I love that genre.  Dylan was the hands down master of it, and there are so many lines from his songs that I think when I am summing up situations in my head.  He is a genius in my book and he becomes more impressive to me the older I get.  He is a complicated man, but an unusually gifted artist.  So I toast my youthful self for seeing that so clearly.  I was so much older then, I am younger than that now.

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