My two cents on Bob Dylan as a Nobel Laureate #MondayBlogs #Music #Poetry

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or just plain don’t care), you’ll know Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. After the prize announcement, the world promptly lost its freaking mind. To be honest, my Facebook friends lose their minds every time the Noble Prize in Literature is announced. Mostly, it’s because their favorite pick didn’t win. Not this year. This year everyone thinks that Dylan should not have even been considered. Huh.

I used to have a very strict idea of what was and what was not literature. Not unlike some lawmaker’s definition of pornography, my definition was also something like ‘I know it when I read it’. After several years of writing my own novels as well as reading hundreds of other authors for review purposes, my strict definition is now somewhat more fluid.

While I don’t agree with how Dylan has handled winning the prize (although to be honest, is anyone surprised?), I can’t disagree with the ‘writing’ talent that is Dylan. And it’s not unusual for the Nobel Prize in Literature to be awarded to a poet. Dylan is definitely a poet. Sure, his poetry is matched to music, but does that make it less of poetry?

Even before that iconic scene in Dangerous Minds in which the words to Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” is used to teach symbolism and metaphor, I’ve thought Dylan was a poet. Just read the lyrics to “Blowin’ In The Wind” and you can’t deny its poetry.

How many roads must a man walk down

Before you call him a man?

How many seas must a white dove sail

Before she sleeps in the sand?

Yes, and how many times must the cannon balls fly

Before they’re forever banned?

More recently, Adele has made poetry (and probably a boatload of money) with these Dylan lyrics in “Make You Feel My Love”.

When the rain is blowin’ in your face

And the whole world is on your case

I could offer you a warm embrace

To make you feel my love.

When the evening shadows and the stars appear

And there is no one there to dry your tears

I could hold you for a million years

To make you feel my love.

I know you haven’t made your mind up yet

But I would never do you wrong

I’ve known it from the moment that we met

No doubt in my mind where you belong.

I’d go hungry, I’d go black and blue

I’d go crawlin’ down the avenue

No, there’s nothin’ that I wouldn’t do

To make you feel my love.

The storms are raging on the rollin’ sea

And on the highway of regrets

The winds of change are blowing wild and free

You ain’t seen nothin’ like me yet.

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true

There’s nothing that I would not do

I will go to the ends of the Earth for you

To make you feel my love.

To make you feel my love.

Make you feel my love…

Feel my love…

So go ahead and deny it all you want, but Bob Dylan is a poet.

And Bob? If you’re out there, know this: there is a difference between civil disobedience and being just plain rude.


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