It’s been a victory for Poetry. A recognition to that ineffable flame that has inspired young minds throughout the times around the world to leave everything (or almost everything) they have and follow its light, even if they do not know well what they are following, even when at the end they will probably lose. Bob Dylan has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, and those who have enjoyed his poetry celebrate.
While it’s true that there are writers who also deserve the recognition, starting perhaps with Mr. Philip Roth, and many others who should have received it, like Tolstoy, Borges, Proust, Joyce, Nabokov, Woolf,and the list goes on, this does not affect how deserving Dylan’s work is. It is unnecessary to listen to those who pontificate about the holiness of literature, as if they have invented it, or torture ourselves defining the genre.
A discussion about Dylan being a musician or a poet seems trite, since to me, as probably to many people, he is both. Dylan became, for the precocious reader I was, another piece in the mosaic composed by Hesse, Peruvian writers, the Boom Generation, French poets, and others I read in my childhood and adolescent years. Later, when I unsuccessfully tried to learn to play the guitar, the few chords of “Blowing in the Wind” were my first and last motivation.
My best Dylan moment took place in the summer of 2003, when a few months after moving to the States, my older sister and I jumped in a cab to go see Dylan perform at the music event West Palm Beach hosts every year by the waterfront. Our miscalculations of time and lack of experience made us late, so when we arrived to the venue the concert had already started, and since Dylan was the last performer they would not sell us tickets or let us in. My sister and I then walked to the side of the venue, and with our faces against a metallic fence could see Dylan’s silhouette and listen, as he closed the concert performing “Like A Rolling Stone” and “All Along The Watchtower.”
Dylan has spent the last six decades writing what many wanted to express, and affecting the lives of those who read or listen to his songs, his prose (yes, he has written a couple of books), his poems, and the stories within them. Dylan, a sponge poet who at times could have wanted to be Rimbaud, Dylan Thomas, or Woody Guthrie, chose to write about the things and times around him, and was instead Dylan. And when being himself became too comfortable he has redefined himself, as poets do. Dylan’s life itself is a poem.
_Alonso Rodriguez Romero was born in Lima, Peru, but has lived in the U.S. since he was fifteen years old. He is a graduate from Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelors in English, with a concentration on Creative Writing. He can be contacted by email, firstname.lastname@example.org._
In defense of 2016’s recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Bob Dylan.