Bob Dylan with the Poets and Professors
Dylan laid bare by leading poets and critics
In Ballad of a Thin Man in 1966, Dylan launched a withering attack on the myopic critic of culture: 'Something is happening here/ And you don't know what it is,/ Do you, Mister Jones'?' Yet Dylan has been a subject of consuming interest to many of the most significant poets and critics writing in Britain and Ireland over the last twenty years. It has even been argued that he is the finest living user of the English language -true to his genius through all his changes of stance, a Romantic, constantly exploring the state of his soul as he dons the cloak of lover, clown, cowboy, priest, bleak prophet of doom.
In this collection, poets and professors explore different aspects of Dylan's work, writing about his impact on their own intellectual and artistic lives, as well as his wider influence. Contributors include Simon Annitage, Christopher Butler, Bryan Cheyette, Patrick Crotty, Aidan Day, Mark Ford, Lavinia Greenlaw, Hugh Haughton, Daniel Karlin, Paul Muldoon, Nicholas Roe, Pam Thurschwell and Susan Wheeler. Serious Dylan criticism is rare and these fascinating, specially commissioned essays are rigorous and challenging, at once a celebration and a questioning of a powerful talent, the genius Leonard Cohen called 'the Picasso of song'.
“You get the impression that the professors are letting their hair down and intellectually freewheelin' and, crucially, few of them forget that the lyrics are only a part of what makes a Bob Dylan song”
Laurence Phelan, Independent on Sunday