Friday 14 October 2016

A Bit More Bobness

Since the Dylan Nobel brouhaha is still going on, even on this blog, let me add this suggestion of another way of looking at Dylan's lyrics. Those who claim him as a bona fide poet always seem to support their case by quoting his most obviously, showily 'poetical' songs, such wordy, image-packed epics as Desolation Row, Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands or Stuck Inside of Mobile (all damned fine, indeed wonderful songs). I would suggest that Dylan actually comes closest to writing words that can stand on their own when he stays closest to ballad form. In particular I'd opine that the album John Wesley Harding contains not only some of his most perfect songs but some of his finest words - all the best of them in simple, concentrated ballad form. I Dreamed I Saw Saint Augustine, I Pity the Poor Immigrant... Of course they're better when they're sung, but those words on their own pack quite a punch, don't they?


  1. Yes, so it's the way he chooses words that is one of his unique features. You await each album to see what uniquely disruptive and surprising combinations he will use. He rearranged reality uncompromisingly with his language and that is the special flavour and appeal of him. That qualifies him as a poet and, as lit.You are sailing along on the rhythm of a song (or in the disciplines of a ballad) and, suddenly, you see the shimmering backs of the sea snakes rise out of the waters and then disappear and you savour that gorgeousness. He uses language to surprise and delight - for its own sake- within the vehicle of a song because he loves words.

    Blah, blah, blah I'll go and put the kettle on now.

  2. To me, literature is simply artistic expression through the medium of words. And during the past 50+ years Dylan has expressed himself in words better than almost anyone. He deserves the award.