The Nobel Prize for Literature has gone to no other than freewheelin' Bob Dylan for "...having created new poetic expression within the Great American Song Tradition." Dylan added unique and insightful voice to the cultural, social and political changes of the 1960s, and while not as much fun as, say, The Beatles or The Stones - and let's not talk about the quality of his actual singing voice - he rocked the world with his words. There have been outpourings of both praise and sour grapes over the Nobel Committee's decision, but for me, who probably listened to Positively 4th Street, A Hard Rain is Gonna Fall, Don't Think Twice It's All Right, and other great songs about 1,000 times by the time I was in high school, Dylan's words helped me to look at almost every aspect of the world in a different way. The answers to a lot of questions are still Blowin' in the Wind (boy, are they) but Dylan's enormous influence on his generation - my generation - is undeniable.
Here's what the BBC reported on the Prize:
Update! It's been well over a week and Dylan has still not acknowledged his Nobel Prize or had any contact with the Nobel Committee. One Committee member was angered and declared that Dylan's actions were "arrogant" and "rude". This all reminds me of an old Br'er Possum tale where Possum is bitten by a snake. Snake's reply is, "Well, you knew I was a snake when you put me in your pocket." I'm not calling Dylan a "snake" in the sinister sense of the word, but his reaction is hardly surprising. Nevertheless, if I were Dylan (which I clearly am not), I would write a poem and deliver it as my acceptance speech, take the monetary prize (which is a nice chunk of change) and donate it to Poets and Writers, Inc. or or some such organization that provides grant money for poetry workshops and poetry readings. But, then, as I said, I'm clearly not Dylan.
Written by Jeanne McCombs,
Free Range Reader