|colored by Robert Sommers|
Sanoguy sent this over:
BH... this is a presentation by Dylan on receiving the Nobel Prize... audio recording of him reading his statement. You can read along with him as he speaks.
Pretty amazing! I am sure many of the Blast readers would like this. I hope you share it!
The whole literature, not literature debate is so much rot. Bob Dylan has more literary acumen in his pinkie than 98% of the serious writers on this planet. He has nothing to prove to anybody, least of all a bunch of literary critics and talking heads, many of them writing smarmy little bits like this stooge at National Review. Dylan bows to his betters: Real Writers, one Kyle Smith writes. Andrew Ferguson's smarmy piece in the Weekly Standard says something like "A few good lines and then he rhymes cheese with sneeze."
Pretty much swill and I think those people Smith mentions like Ezra Pound or T.S. Eliot would agree. Dylan's speech is a beautiful thing. I like this part:
The colonel, too, with his caviar and his coffee – he's another one. Spends all his time in the officers' brothel. You'd like to see him stoned dead too. More Tommies and Johnnies with their whack fo' me daddy-o and their whiskey in the jars. You kill twenty of ‘em and twenty more will spring up in their place. It just stinks in your nostrils.That is good writing. Kind I like anyway. The whole deal is worth a read. The National Review flunky says that Zim's songs can't stand next to Homer, Melville or Remarque. Permit me to disagree. He has added words and phrases to the english lexicon at a measure so great there is no distant second. Blowing in the Wind, Knocking on Heaven's Door, Forever Young, Simple Twist of fate, when your words grab hold of real people, indelibly, for all time, than you have succeeded as an artist. Sentences and songs that had rhythm and meter and stood on their own two legs.
Then there is this lady at the Federalist. Using Dylan in her stupid narrative so that she can engage in her little culture war. Here's the lengthy title of her screed -
So what does it all mean? Myself and a lot of other songwriters have been influenced by these very same themes. And they can mean a lot of different things. If a song moves you, that's all that's important. I don't have to know what a song means. I've written all kinds of things into my songs. And I'm not going to worry about it – what it all means. When Melville put all his old testament, biblical references, scientific theories, Protestant doctrines, and all that knowledge of the sea and sailing ships and whales into one story, I don't think he would have worried about it either – what it all means.The problem with Dylan is that he really doesn't write for the ignorant. His words cut like a dagger like fireflies in june like the granite on Rushmore or butterscotch ripple.
If you write you need to listen to rhythm. I can try to edit something and reread and reread. But the first time you write and then read it out loud, the editing becomes so clear, unnecessary syllables jump out at you and if you reread it, it will write itself, in proper meter. Words have always been connected to sounds, think of the word dictionary, no diction, no words.
Dylan speaks or sings poetry, pretty much every song. Lines with perfect weight, and even meaning, at least for some.
I don't know what passes for real literature these days? Is it still the Oates and Didion types? Roth, Bellow, I have no clue...
Those types never did it for me. My taste runs nearer to Bobs, old classics that have stood the test of time, Twain and Stevenson and Homer and Conrad. Not the guys in the corduroy jackets.
Bob Dylan is not a god. He is a writer. Arguably the best songwriter of his generation. Prine writes different, more real people, less apocryphally. A very small handful of others in this club.
Whatever touches you, there is no right way of writing or receiving. You get somebody or you don't. It is not a contest. And I seriously doubt Dylan cares about rewards or titles or which club he belongs to at this stage of his life.
I have seen Bob Dylan twelve to fifteen times. He can be present or not, depending on his whim. When he is on and everything clicks, it is a truly beautiful and powerful thing. Thanks Bob.