Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009

10/14/2016

Dylan's Nobel Prize: A few words from Canada's best blues pianist

By DAVID VEST // As for the whole baffled literary establishment, something is happening here and they still don't know what it is.

The moment Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature, a new speculation started. Who would be the first musty academic poet to unlock the storehouse of hoary phallic metaphors and argue that Dylan's work doesn't "stand up on the page"?
 
Billy Collins, who is probably America's best-known "serious" poet, made that very (and very stupid) claim a few years back. But the moment Dylan actually won, Collins felt something blowing in the wind, reversed his position, and applauded the selection. 
 
As for the whole baffled literary establishment, something is happening here and they still don't know what it is. Believe me, I know: I used to be among the crowd they're in with.
 
When someone says that they don't "get" Dylan, ask them whether they get Joyce, or Paul Valery, or Ishmael Reed (who would have been my pick had I been on the jury).
 
William Faulkner, who also won a Nobel Prize, maintained that all literature is meant to be heard aloud, not examined on the page. I don't think he'd be shocked by the recognition bestowed on Dylan this week. 
 
Meanwhile, as of this  writing Dylan himself has had nothing to say on the subject of winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. Why would he? Like his art, it speaks for itself.

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