Monday, December 19, 2016

Dylan writing literature? Not really.

Cohen and Dylan
Google Images

In a short Nobel speech (read by the American Ambassador to Sweden, Azita Raji), Dylan tells us that not once had he ever had the time to ask himself if his songs were literature.

That's not quite true though, for I distinctively recall Dylan stating in "I shall Be Free No. 10" some words to the effect that he was writing literature:
Yippee! I’m a poet, and I know it
Hope I don’t blow it
No, Mr. Dylan, if these lines are evidence of your poetic skills, then you've already blown it. Yes, I know you're merely being jocular and ironic. But you're still not much of a poet, as Carl Sandburg must have told you that time you dropped in on him to show him your 'poems' that weren't poetry. Leonard Cohen, on the other hand, is a poet, even without the music:
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
There! See how much better a poet Cohen is than Dylan? But I don't want to leave anyone with the wrong impression. I am a Dylan fan. He's great. He has written some great songs. His real strength, however, is not so much the words as the music. The music is what makes him great.

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8 Comments:

At 12:57 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Jeffery,

What did you make of the ending of the novella Cold Echoes, when the agents discover what could be Bob Dylan?

(Cold Echoes part III, the final section of the novella, is in Emanations: 2 + 2 = 5)

 
At 8:08 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

That "venerable world-class poet" - as the narrator put it? I don't know what to make of it. I did enjoy the story, though . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:12 PM, Blogger Bienvenido Bones Banez, Jr. said...

Yeah, I'm sure you are right! what happened to the world intellectual? Well, no surprise maybe there are political parties and no wonder that belongs to the irresponsibility,and we hope that will work something positive. *Bones*

 
At 11:29 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Bones!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:24 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Especially in the wake of Dylan, we might see a new trend in global intellectuality, in which global irresponsibility is transformed into it's progressive apposite; that is, global positivity. (Though, having not seen the scholarship, I do not know if Dylan has yet been theorized through these terms).

 
At 12:18 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I'm wondering about that possessive "it's"!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:05 PM, Blogger Bienvenido Bones Banez, Jr. said...

Well, No wonder that belongs to the Satan gifts from the Tree of Knowledge then becom a gods and superstar that knowing what is good work and irresponsible into bad way, and this is from the book of "The Bottomless Bottle of Beer" and always tribute to the Paradise Lost Society. *Bones*

 
At 9:42 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

The Old Man works in mysterious ways . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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