Dylan Nobel Opens The World Of The Word To Our Greatest Ignored Voices

Dylan Nobel

Well, he hands you a nickel

He hands you a dime

He asks you with a grin

If you’re havin’ a good time

Then he fines you every time you slam the door

I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more.

-Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is America’s most famous poet, a global artist whose voice inspired and continues to inspire every man and woman who take of the cross of creation.

Some American poets may be more heralded. The more traditional wordsmiths, especially in “literary” circles. Names like Walt Whitman. Ginsberg. Maya Angelou. Yet the first American poet to win a Nobel of Literature, the world’s greatest competition of the word, is Bob Dylan. That’s right. The musician. The punk. The songwriter with the gravelly (ahem) voice. This is the year of the Dylan Nobel.

The World Series of Letters

The Nobel Prize of literature was founded in 1901. Rudyard Kipling — yeah the author of all those legendary stories every child grows up on — won 6 years later. The first American winner was Pearl S. Buck in 1938 and she was cited as a great writer of Chinese life. It wasn’t until Steinbeck wrote about the depression and the put-upon farm immigrants and Faulkner wrote about the American south and its racist shame that American literature came into its own. Hemingway redefined literary style and wrote about striving with passion and vigor against insurmountable odds, the most basic of all human aspirations. We went on to Saul Bellow and his exploration of the American experience in words more lyrical than the most beautiful song you could ever conjure (even if he set a horrible precedent for navel-gazing nonhero that would plague American literature for a while). Toni Morrison was the last American winner, in 1993, an evolution from Faulkner’s observational canvas of America’s great struggle to a first-person meditation on race and doubling it down with the struggle of being a woman.

And now, 23 years later, Bob Dylan won. His work took a lot of influence from America’s poets but to award it to him? This isn’t just an appreciation of an artist’s work or his beautiful writing, his “lyrical” lyrics. The Dylan Nobel is a statement, a sign from a Swedish-based consortium of arguably the greatest minds of the 21st century that the world is evolving and art must too. Just as L.A. is becoming the global ground zero for classical music because the genre’s composition is now better fitted to the widespread enjoyment found in film than to the drawing rooms of the ultra-rich (and Dudamel’s there), it makes sense that literature now looks to the people writing words that reach into and speak to the deepest parts of all of our souls, meditating not on the worries of the powerful few but the struggles and triumphs of the human many.

Right now there are countless articles published or being typed out talking about Dylan. His classic works of protest (“Blowin’ In The Wind,” “Hurricane”) to his works of critique (“Maggie’s Farm,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues”) to works of just great beauty (“Wind Cries Mary,” “Girl From The North Country,” “Tambourine Man”) are being cited and rehashed and maybe even revealed to a younger generation that knows one or two Dylan songs but mostly thinks of him as the musician that makes their parents sigh and stop and look up for a second and become people we children realize we don’t recognize because they’ve become a person young and introspective and rebellious and full of hope; not our mom or dad. And that’s weird.

But this award is bigger than the art of one man. What this means is that the classic definitions and laws of taste have been torn apart. And the definition of what is the pinnacle of storytelling is evolving.

The Evolution of The Word

Literature formerly was the luxury of the elite, the people wealthy enough not only to learn how to read but to purchase expensive books and have the free time to enjoy them. I love Tolstoy but all his masterpieces are about the high society. And for all the credit Flaubert gets for “Madame Bovary,” had I been able to dedicate all my time to writing without concern for making a living (and when shit got too real jet off through Europe and Russia for a year), I probably coulda written a damn good treatise on infidelity and compulsive consumerism myself.

“I think this is beautiful but you should probably put a tune to it because if you send it into a journal they’ll just publish it and send you 25 bucks.”  — paraphrasing David Crosby from “Greenwich Village: The Music That Defined a Generation” on advice he gave to Dylan after Dylan showed him his poem that became “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”

It wasn’t until the proliferation of public education and the refinement of printing to the point where even the poorest could afford books, or at least read them in libraries, that this whole firsthand exploration of the condition of the non-elite grew.

Thus began this evolution from stories about the 1% to the exploration of the wide travails and tribulations of everybody else.The 20th century has seen the greatest expansion of the art of the novel and the commutation of storytelling to the page. Because while the novel was exclusive, talk was free and all cultures had their own stories. The great bard, in whose tradition Dylan has admittedly and proudly followed, was the source of the many of the most colorful and diverse stories we now hold so dear.

In high school in Baltimore I was in a play called “Anansi and the Hat-Shaking Dance,” a Sankofa retelling of an old West African folk story featuring, among other things, a rap written and performed by the artist currently known as Spank Rock. I was mostly in the background, doing a few flips and such. But Spank mentioned the “griots,” the great storytellers in the African tradition.

Because storytelling has existed long before the Nobel association or Gutenberg or the ancient scribes or the scrolls of Japan and far outside its reach. And a good story, whether from the highest heights or the deepest dirt, is the greatest immortal thing that man can create.

There is no medium that cuts across all boundaries like modern music. Like the fact that instrumental music and the finest human depictions of our very struggle have been opened to all people thanks to modern film, once the record allowed everybody to hear music, suddenly a forum of word was created for the masses.

Still, for the first few decades of recordings most of the popular music was buttoned-down white people singing harmony with catchy optimistic choruses wearing ties with the occasional black blues singer whose talent was so undeniably superior to that of those buttoned-down singers that they actually got deals and tours (and a shit-ton of songwriter’s credits and payments).

Dylan blew the doors off this system, singing in a t-shirt and jeans and following the Woody Guthrie tradition of pointing out the fact that things are fucked up for some people, especially the outsider, outlaws and outcasts out there. Now he’s blown the door off the most hallowed halls of humanity (I mean really, the Nobel fucking Prize) and opened it to America’s many great wordmen and women in the same way that Shepard Fairey and Banksy made the formerly-disdained blight of graffiti into art.

So what could this mean for the future?

What the Dylan Nobel Could Mean For Ignored Geniuses

Many people who had the sentiment of poets but the need to earn a paycheck of non-nobles turned their souls into commercial music. Jim Morrison’s poems and works are so far out there and beautiful that I often wonder, if he lived to 50 or 60, if he would have mellowed out enough to write a great novel or at least a high-acclaimed poetry collection and received that “legitimate” artistic appreciation he yearned for.

Could Bill Withers have told us about his struggles in a generation-defining novel had he been found by teachers early and sent to the Iowa Workshop instead of a factory (followed by a brief career as a brilliant musician before he became disenchanted by the music industry)? Did Robert Johnson really sell his soul to the devil? Would Townes Van Zandt’s story collection have won the Pulitzer? And what about Nina Simone?

Most recently, the evolution of American life and the fight against social injustice has been elucidated most strongly through song. Yes there was Toni Morrison but many of the American Pulitzer winners of the last few decades have been centered on the well-drawn rural navel-gazing self-doubting adventures of white men. Yes, there have been some amazing explorations of homosexuality. But a huge part of America, the minority’s struggles, have been mostly overlooked because many of the ones most experienced in those struggles didn’t have the freedom to write a book while living in an extra room in their parents’ nice big suburban home. So they gotta set those poems to music to build that mass appeal into more populist distribution systems (radiowaves). Hell, even “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” was released set to music.

I think about what the Dylan Nobel means for the future of such amazing voices as Kendrick Lamar:

Obviously the coroner between the sheets like the Isleys

When you hop on that trolley

Make sure your colors correct

Make sure you’re corporate, or they’ll be calling your mother collect

They say the governor collect, all of our taxes except

When we in traffic and tragic happens, that shit ain’t no threat

You movin backwards if you suggest that you sleep with a Tec

Go buy a chopper and have a doctor on speed dial, I guess.

Mad Cities

Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid M.A.A.D. City” was an amazing story the likes of which the greatest novelist would envy being able to write. An album reading more like a longform poem that a traditional rap LP. He used visceral images and words to paint a picture of his experience growing up in South Central but in a way that would confuse all but the most committed listener. In “Pimp A Butterfly” he takes on complex themes with simple phrases like “We need 40 acres and a mule/not 40 ounces and a pitbull.” It’s like Picasso of the word, finding a new way to represent the sentiments and stories of traditional art in a way that challenges preconceived notions and doesn’t make sense in the eyes of many of the old generation.

In fact the natural progression would be to see one of the brilliant lyricists of American hip hop someday follow in Dylan’s literary footsteps.

Look at NAS’ NY State of mind

Full of black rats trapped plus the Island is packed
From what I hear in all the stories
When my peoples come back, black
I’m living where the nights is jet-black
The fiends fight to get crack
I just max, I dream I can sit back

Look at Eminem’s meditations on eking through life in a trailer park or Ice Cube’s revelation of life as one of L.A.’s forgotten sons in South Central; look at almost anything from Biggie or Tupac. Phife and Tribe. The wordplay in rap is unmatched by all but the greatest poets of yore. The themes hit and the stories told are the modern reflection of Steinbeck’s poor hard-scrabble countryside, echo Nobel writers from Singer to Toni Morrison to Derek Walcott (a favorite poet of mine, also black, also from an ignored place (St. Lucia), and also brilliant) to Garcia Marquez and Vargas Llosa.

Many of America’s greatest storytellers had more stories to tell than they had time to sit around telling them. So they had to adapt to a commercial industry that at the least built them cachet in their local communities and at best made them millionaires. Many great writers from hardscrabble country towns and ignored urban childhoods, men and women, black and white and every color in between, found music the best outlet for the poetry they wished to expose to the world.

Bob Dylan may be another white male voice given accolades, as many have complained. Murakami should have one, many said.

But looked at another way, this is about the opening up of minds as to what defines this art form; breaking down barriers and dashing definitions. And this hopefully opens the doors for many of America’s greatest storytellers who, due to the necessity to earn a living, turned to the more easily-marketed form of expression of music.

At the least, to quote the winner himself (as the Nobel people did), “the times they are a-changin’.”

 

Comments

comments

Ryan Ariano

Born and raised in Baltimore, Ryan has been kicking around the west since the first Clinton White House. Having worked all over SoCal in the surf industry, Hollywood, marketing, journalism and finance, he now hangs his hat just outside Jackson Hole where he can fulfill an addiction to ascending and descending mountains.

You may also like...

74 Responses

  1. December 8, 2017

    VIP Financing Solutions

    […]check beneath, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, on the other hand, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  2. December 9, 2017

    Oud

    […]below you?ll uncover the link to some web sites that we believe you need to visit[…]

  3. December 9, 2017

    vibrating penis ring

    […]we prefer to honor lots of other online web-sites on the web, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages really worth checking out[…]

  4. December 9, 2017

    legitimate work at home jobs

    […]check beneath, are some completely unrelated web-sites to ours, on the other hand, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  5. December 9, 2017

    Panduan bermain maxbet

    […]one of our visitors a short while ago suggested the following website[…]

  6. December 9, 2017

    finger vibrator

    […]please take a look at the web sites we stick to, like this one, as it represents our picks from the web[…]

  7. December 9, 2017

    Taruhan sbobet card cuma seribu

    […]check below, are some completely unrelated internet sites to ours, even so, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  8. December 10, 2017

    Rental

    […]The information mentioned in the post are a number of the most beneficial offered […]

  9. December 10, 2017

    adam and eve magic massager

    […]the time to study or take a look at the subject material or web sites we’ve linked to beneath the[…]

  10. December 10, 2017

    Carpet Cleaners Oxford

    […]Every once in a though we decide on blogs that we read. Listed below would be the most current sites that we decide on […]

  11. December 12, 2017

    quotes of the day

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]

  12. December 12, 2017

    rhalyns

    […]The data talked about inside the write-up are several of the top obtainable […]

  13. December 13, 2017

    astaxanthin

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a couple of unrelated information, nonetheless genuinely worth taking a search, whoa did 1 find out about Mid East has got extra problerms also […]

  14. December 13, 2017

    astaxanthin

    […]that would be the end of this article. Right here you?ll locate some web pages that we feel you?ll value, just click the hyperlinks over[…]

  15. December 13, 2017

    blue light

    […]one of our visitors recently advised the following website[…]

  16. December 14, 2017

    penis extender reviews

    […]very couple of web sites that take place to become in depth below, from our point of view are undoubtedly very well really worth checking out[…]

  17. December 15, 2017

    Xvideos

    […]one of our visitors not long ago advised the following website[…]

  18. December 15, 2017

    carpet cleaner sunrise fl

    […]check below, are some entirely unrelated sites to ours, on the other hand, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  19. December 15, 2017

    Headline news blog

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine several unrelated data, nevertheless definitely worth taking a look, whoa did 1 learn about Mid East has got additional problerms at the same time […]

  20. December 16, 2017

    Latest Gadgets

    […]just beneath, are various absolutely not associated internet sites to ours, having said that, they are certainly worth going over[…]

  21. December 16, 2017

    خرید هاست

    […]we like to honor several other web websites on the net, even though they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages really worth checking out[…]

  22. December 17, 2017

    kona coffee organic gourmet coffee beans

    Enjoy high quality gourmet Kona Peaberry Coffee and pure Kona Coffee in whole beans, grinds, filter packs and 100% Kona Coffee single serve K-cups all fresh from the Kona estate store.

  23. December 17, 2017

    tritan plastic safe

    […]very handful of internet websites that take place to become detailed beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly effectively worth checking out[…]

  24. December 17, 2017

    Labrador Bilder

    […]here are some hyperlinks to websites that we link to simply because we believe they are really worth visiting[…]

  25. December 18, 2017

    Little Lunch little China Suppe

    […]The info talked about in the article are a number of the best accessible […]

  26. December 18, 2017

    Post jobs

    […]The info talked about inside the article are some of the very best readily available […]

  27. December 19, 2017

    daily percent

    […]check beneath, are some absolutely unrelated web-sites to ours, having said that, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  28. December 19, 2017

    Leonard Pozner

    […]the time to study or check out the material or internet sites we have linked to below the[…]

  29. December 19, 2017

    weedmaps deals

    […]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not connected to ours, we feel they may be really worth a go by means of, so have a look[…]

  30. December 19, 2017

    cbd oil

    […]one of our visitors not too long ago recommended the following website[…]

  31. December 21, 2017

    Herb cutter

    […]although internet sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not related to ours, we feel they may be basically really worth a go as a result of, so possess a look[…]

  32. December 22, 2017

    100% kona coffee

    100% Kona Coffee is so gourmet you’ll be tempted to drive to Hawaii. Enjoy the best quality pure Kona Coffee Beans shipped to your door, no splash required.

  33. December 22, 2017

    PSYCHOLOGIST THESSALONIKI TELEPHONE

    […]below you?ll obtain the link to some web sites that we consider you must visit[…]

  34. December 22, 2017

    best available ways to treat fleas on dog

    […]although web sites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we really feel they are basically really worth a go by means of, so have a look[…]

  35. December 24, 2017

    brain cancer

    […]we like to honor lots of other net web-sites around the net, even if they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages worth checking out[…]

  36. December 25, 2017

    Thor Cups

    […]please stop by the web sites we comply with, like this one particular, because it represents our picks in the web[…]

  37. December 26, 2017

    SSD Web Hosting

    […]we came across a cool web page that you simply may appreciate. Take a search should you want[…]

  38. December 27, 2017

    free download Machine games for windows full

    […]although internet websites we backlink to beneath are considerably not related to ours, we feel they may be really really worth a go by means of, so have a look[…]

  39. December 27, 2017

    Kitchen Remodelingl

    […]Sites of interest we’ve a link to[…]

  40. December 28, 2017

    car news

    […]usually posts some very intriguing stuff like this. If you are new to this site[…]

  41. December 29, 2017

    Svenson

    […]check below, are some absolutely unrelated internet websites to ours, having said that, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  42. December 30, 2017

    BODYBUILDING ARMS

    […]here are some links to internet sites that we link to due to the fact we believe they may be really worth visiting[…]

  43. December 31, 2017

    Auburn, Covington, Kent physician take all insurances

    […]check beneath, are some totally unrelated web sites to ours, on the other hand, they’re most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  44. December 31, 2017

    Ariat, Justin Boots, Tony Lama, Lucchese, Carolina boots, Double H, Chippewa

    […]we came across a cool internet site that you may enjoy. Take a appear should you want[…]

  45. January 2, 2018

    Desi Rock Band

    […]Here is an excellent Blog You might Uncover Interesting that we Encourage You[…]

  46. January 3, 2018

    Lotto Dominator

    […]Every when in a while we select blogs that we read. Listed below are the most recent sites that we select […]

  47. January 3, 2018

    being a freelance web developer

    […]check below, are some entirely unrelated web sites to ours, nevertheless, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  48. January 6, 2018

    sex video

    […]usually posts some incredibly fascinating stuff like this. If you are new to this site[…]

  49. January 7, 2018

    Buy Jackets Online

    […]check beneath, are some completely unrelated web sites to ours, however, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  50. January 8, 2018

    خرید vpn

    Many thanks for yet another educational net web site. The location else could I get that sort of info prepared in these kinds of an excellent approach?I have a undertaking that I’m just now operating on, and I have been at the appear outfor such info.

  51. January 8, 2018

    b movies horror

    […]Every once in a although we pick out blogs that we study. Listed beneath would be the most current websites that we pick out […]

  52. January 8, 2018

    55printing.com/cheap-color-copies

    […]one of our visitors not long ago advised the following website[…]

  53. January 8, 2018

    55printing

    […]please check out the web-sites we stick to, like this one, because it represents our picks in the web[…]

  54. January 8, 2018

    real estate news

    […]very couple of websites that occur to be comprehensive beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly effectively really worth checking out[…]

  55. January 9, 2018

    powertronic revisie

    […]very couple of websites that take place to be comprehensive below, from our point of view are undoubtedly properly really worth checking out[…]

  56. January 9, 2018

    voith

    […]Every as soon as in a though we select blogs that we read. Listed beneath are the newest web pages that we select […]

  57. January 9, 2018

    rebuild

    […]Every once in a even though we pick blogs that we read. Listed beneath would be the most up-to-date sites that we pick […]

  58. January 10, 2018

    Micropigmentación Capilar Marbella

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]

  59. January 11, 2018

    uk removal

    […]we prefer to honor lots of other net web pages around the net, even if they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Beneath are some webpages worth checking out[…]

  60. January 11, 2018

    custom birthday balloons

    […]usually posts some very intriguing stuff like this. If you?re new to this site[…]

  61. January 11, 2018

    Website Creators

    […]below you will locate the link to some websites that we consider you should visit[…]

  62. January 13, 2018

    خرید vpn

    right here are some backlinks to internet sites that we link to since we believe they are worth visiting

  63. January 14, 2018

    Parental Child Abduction

    […]Every when in a though we choose blogs that we read. Listed beneath are the most current web sites that we choose […]

  64. January 14, 2018

    هاست وردپرس

    […]Sites of interest we have a link to[…]

  65. January 15, 2018

    how to tighten face skin

    […]we came across a cool site which you may possibly delight in. Take a search when you want[…]

  66. January 16, 2018

    Your Domain Name

    […]Here are several of the internet sites we advocate for our visitors[…]

  67. January 16, 2018

    ATS Grandstand Gurgaon

    […]please visit the sites we stick to, including this one, because it represents our picks from the web[…]

  68. January 17, 2018

    beginner snowboard lessons

    […]Here are a number of the web sites we advocate for our visitors[…]

  69. January 17, 2018

    England Transportation LLC Broker

    […]here are some hyperlinks to web pages that we link to since we think they are worth visiting[…]

  70. January 18, 2018

    سئو

    With respect to ergonomics and the sophisticated technilogy Heuer reproduction watches have been the wonderful samples of sports activities watches.

  71. January 19, 2018

    Willhaul Transportation Inc

    […]check below, are some completely unrelated web-sites to ours, having said that, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[…]

  72. January 19, 2018

    Mp3 songs

    […]although sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not related to ours, we feel they’re in fact worth a go as a result of, so possess a look[…]

  73. January 19, 2018

    wow legion cheap us

    […]Here are several of the websites we advise for our visitors[…]

  74. January 21, 2018

    motorcycle lawyer in san diego

    […]although websites we backlink to beneath are considerably not related to ours, we really feel they may be truly worth a go through, so possess a look[…]

Leave a Reply