bob dylan poet



In a controversial decision, the Nobel Prize for Literature 2016 was awarded to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Arguments against this decision were fairly predictable; a dumbing down of standards, questions regarding plagiarism. Telegraph columnist, Tim Stanley, wrote, “…Perhaps a Nobel Prize in 2025 being awarded to Donald Trump for lyrical tweeting.” Although I have never been a big Bob Dylan fan, nor of most folk artists, I do appreciate his immense body of work and what is brilliant, timeless, and indisputably, poetry. Kudos to you, Nobel Committee for Literature, for this choice; for if literature fails to break the confines, if we dismiss the unconventional, we would be a stagnate and unsatisfied body of readers.

As much of Dylan’s work is long, I’m offering a Dylan Sampler, excerpts from pieces you will recognize, but excerpts that have become lost over time and over-shadowed by the ease of memorizing choruses. Full lyrics can be read in each accompanying link. Enjoy.


from Mr. Tambourine Man, 1965

Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time
Far past the frozen leaves
The haunted frightened trees
Out to the windy bench
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky
With one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea
Circled by the circus sands
With all memory of fate
Driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow

Mr. Tambourine Man


from It’s Alright, Ma, 1965

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred

It’s Alright, Ma


from Masters of War, 1963

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion’
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

Masters of War

opinion: Rolling Stone

Nobel Prize Organization


art credit:


2 thoughts on “bob dylan poet”

  1. My first love of poetry was born from Dylan and my first anthology was his songbook, a gift! I adored him and the teacher who presented him to us in the classroom as an American poet. I continue to celebrate his work; after the last concert a few years back, not so much his screaming!! 🙂
    Thanks for reminding me.


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