Yesterday; singer-songwriter, artist, writer, and all-round renaissance man, Bob Dylan, won the Nobel Prize for Literature
Dylan was awarded the accolade for “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” the Nobel Prize committee said. Dylan is the first musician to win the Nobel prize in literature; and the first American to pick up the prize since novelist Toni Morrison (Jazz, Song of Solomon, and Beloved) who won in 1993.
Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, said Dylan had been chosen because he was “a great poet in the English speaking tradition … For 54 years now he’s been at it reinventing himself, constantly creating a new identity,” she told reporters in Stockholm.
Others to receive the prize for literature include greats such as: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Saul Bellow, John Steinbeck, Pablo Neruda and Samuel Beckett.
Many celebrities, writers and politicians celebrated Dylan’s receipt of the prize; including former-president Bill Clinton, who expressed his congratulations to Dylan with a tweet that read, “Congrats @bobdylan on a well-deserved Nobel for wise, powerful lyrics that touched minds & hearts. And TY for this amazing orig. sculpture!”
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) October 13, 2016
Attached was a picture of a sculpture by Dylan – in a style typical of his sculptures: recycled and antique cogs, wheels and pitchforks, welded to create an image wrought in iron – that appears to be in the Clinton’s back garden.
Not to be outdone; the current president, Obama, tweeted, “Congratulations to one of my favorite poets, Bob Dylan, on a well-deserved Nobel.” (With a link to a Dylan playlist on Spotify that is worth checking out.)
Former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion said Dylan’s songs “work as poems”.
“They have often extremely skilful rhyming aspects to them,” he told the BBC. “They’re often the best words in the best order.”
Though many of us know him as the musical poet who’s accompanied us to weddings, birthday parties, funerals, on lonely train journeys – and all the moments in-between; Dylan has previously written a novel: Tarantula. Dylan both started and abandoned Tarantula in 1965 – it was published officially in 1971, after being widely bootlegged. But as Tarantula has largely been lost among the pages of the history books, it would appear he didn’t need to write a novel to win one of the most prestigious (if not ‘The’ most) prizes in literature in the world. The kind of lyrical writing that came most naturally to him has proved to be more than enough.
The Guardian have created a timeline so you can follow the Dylan/Nobel Prize-related stream of news and congratulations as it happened yesterday, click here to read.
Who knows, if there was a Nobel Prize for art, and Dylan continued to work as prolifically as he does (his New Orleans and Brazil Series have received particular acclaim), he might well have won that too – “the answer my friend, is blowing in the wind.”