There’s been as much euphoria as consternation in the media after the announcement, but the most surprising fact is that Bob Dylan has not answered the phone from the Swedish Academy yet. He has not clearly stated whether he accepts the accolade or not, either.
Trivia: In 1964, an existentialist writer and philosopher, Jean-Paule Sartre, refused to accept the Nobel Prize in Literature. Read more here.
I was happy to hear that one of the greatest bards in the American Songbook is to receive the prize. This decision comes like a breeze to all poetry fans.
As it usually happens in such cases, I was trying to recall when I encountered Dylan’s works for the first time. And it hit me that I must have been around 12. In my music classes, the teacher taught us how to sing and play “Blowing in the Wind” (1963).
The song’s opening phrase: “How many roads must a man walk down/ Before you can call him a man?” recurred in many of my readings later on. How do we gain experience? How do we know our worth? What makes us different from one another?
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, my beloved Shakespeare, comparing a lover, a madman and a poet, says that they all use imagination in order to create their worlds:
And as imagination bodies forthThe forms of things unknown, the poet’s penTurns them to shapes and gives to airy nothingA local habitation and a name.Such tricks hath strong imagination (5.1.15-19)