All the Nobel arts

Ill: N. Elmehed. © Nobel Media 2016
Ill: N. Elmehed. © Nobel Media 2016

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 was awarded to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

He is an icon. He changed how we see folk music. He defined the shifting progress that happens between generations for generations that followed.

Though there are some dissenters, I  gather that the net feeling is that this award was well bestowed.

A Nobel prize for poetry makes sense, and it is hard to argue that lyrics are not poems set to a tune. But even beyond pointing out poetry as the obvious written genre, his body of work embodies the art of story telling. It’s prophesy. It’s philosophy, a call to the angels of our better nature and a condemnation of our baser instincts. It’s an outline of the human condition. It’s musical theatre. In some cases it can be seen as investigative reporting, and as social commentary.

It is well reasoned to award the Nobel to a songwriter whose lyrics are the the basis of the song – and be honest, none of us listened to Bob Dylan for the lilting qualities of his voice. In fact I see every justification of this award when I read his words, even if they echo in my head in tune.

Many heavy weight organisations have weighed in: CBC, BBC, NYTimes, Rolling StoneNew Republic.

We may disagree as to whether lyrics are poetry and therefore deserving of this honour, but we must agree that he has been an icon during an era of progress. As our difference of opinion? Don’t think twice, it’s alright.

Listen to some artists who certainly have recognized his influence on their art and on their world.




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