Bob Dylan has been awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. The New York Times reported that the honor now puts Dylan — the first musician to win the award — in such rare company as T. S. Eliot, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison, and Samuel Beckett.
Bruce Springsteen was among the first to salute the Dylan honor, posting on BruceSpringsteen.net, a passage about Dylan from his new memoir, Born To Run, which reads: “Bob pointed true north and served as a beacon to assist you in making your way through the new wilderness America had become. He planted a flag, wrote the songs, sang the words that were essential to the times, to the emotional and spiritual survival of so many young Americans at that moment.”
Singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash and daughter of Johnny Cash, tweeted: “Holy mother of god. Bob Dylan wins the Nobel Prize.”
Billy Collins, the former United States poet laureate, defended the choice to name Dylan — who’s primarily known as a lyricist and musician — as being Nobel Prize worthy: “Most song lyrics don’t really hold up without the music, and they aren’t supposed to. Bob Dylan is in the two percent club of songwriters whose lyrics are interesting on the page even without the harmonica and the guitar and his very distinctive voice. I think he does qualify as poetry.”
Others also joined in by celebrating Dylan, including such legendary writers as Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, and Salman Rushdie, who called Dylan “the brilliant inheritor of the bardic tradition,” adding that Dylan was, quote, a “great choice.”
As expected there were others who couldn’t see beyond the form to slam the choice of Dylan, who is arguably the most important voices — in any art form of the past 60 years — with novelist Rabih Alameddine tweeting: “Bob Dylan winning a Nobel in Literature is like Mrs. Fields being awarded three Michelin stars. This is almost as silly as Winston Churchill.”
A while back Bob Dylan spoke candidly about who he is beyond the music: “I can’t describe myself in one or two words, considering the fact that I’ve written over 300 and 400 songs that do describe me. I gotta let those people speak for me. If you wanna find out what I’m like, you usually have to ask other people. Usually you can find out better from someone who don’t know me. I think it’s wrong for a person to talk about themself (sic). People. . . a person’s life speaks for itself. Y’know, if you’ve done good things, people will spread the news. And if you’ve done bad things, people will spread the news, too.”
The Nobel Prize Award Ceremonies and Banquets will be held on December 10th in Stockholm, Sweden.
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