The Dynamite Genius of Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize Committee, Dynamic Connection Between Nobel and Dylan: What is literature? Who’s asking? All of a sudden, everyone is. And the point is, it is Everyone. The Odyssey was sung. We teach it today as literature. When poets take to the stage rather than the page: our show today considers the case for Dylan’s music as literature as old as the hills.
Hats off to the Nobel Prize Committee, whose selection has people thinking about literature, what it is, what it means, what’s at stake for civilization—and what Alfred Nobel had in mind, when he created the prize out of his money in the explosives business, for chemistry, physics, medicine, literature, and peace. And what would Nobel have thought?—in fact, for Nobel, a poet himself, whose exemplar was Percy Bysshe Shelley, revel avatar of freedom, not to mention Rabbi Burns (Dylan’s favorite), Wordsworth, and other passionate romantics, Dylan may be the most logical heir to Nobel’s personal vision for himself as an idealist (his criteria for the poetry prize). As we consider Alfred Nobel, the Poet, the whole world slows down—all right, screeches to a halt—as we hurtle forward in our hectic lives, by poetry crossing the street, not in the crosswalk, not between the lines, but in the street, Positively 4th Street, a place where society is in the crosshairs, a Highway 61, the major American highway which connected Dylan’s birthplace,Duluth, Minnesota, to the southern cities famed for their musical heritage, especially blues, including St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans, and the Delta blues area of Mississippi. So we’ll slowing down with poetry blues for The Poetry Slow Down, with Professor Barbara Mossberg, produced by Zappa Johns, radiomonterey.com, aired October 16, 2016, Noon PST, and at barbaramossberg.com.
© Barbara Mossberg