Dylans Nobel prize win triggered a debate about texts as literature. Here, Andrew Motion, Carol Ann Duffy, Johnny Marr, Naomi Alderman and others nominate songwriters whose ballad has the dominance of poetry
Bob Dylan by Andrew Motion
Dylans Nobel laureateship has proved controversial which was presumably a part of the reason for awarding it to him in the first place. To shake situations up a bit. But as a counterweight to those who think he shouldnt have got the loot under any circumstances, and those who imagine the texts to the lyrics depend on their theme and give, which disqualify them from such an bestow, there are plenty of supporters, and batch of the methods of disagree, that his paroles alone are certain good. The great protestations( Blowin in the Wind ), the great love-murmurs( Love Minus Zero) and love-twists( Entangled Up in Blue ), the largest surrealist masterpieces of the Blonde on Blonde epoch( Visions of Johanna ): all these contain a better quality we look for in style that matters. Concentration of usage, formal expertise of one kind or the other, and a clever balancing of articulacy and mystery. The same leads for his great ballads, which I cherish as much as any of these lyrics exactly referred, and none more than his Baltimorean tragedy, The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll. Here Dylan devotes his account of the murder be carried out by William Zanzinger, of the criminally light-headed sentence he received, and of high-pitched power relations in the politics of Maryland, in four headlong and primarily unpunctuated poems. Everything about them is alert to the literary habit in which they wield, but everything unfolds and provides that tradition, sauntering a fine wire between lyrical and narrative to catch the essence of both, and toppling through rampage into sorrow at its conclusion, without lessening either: Oh but you who philosophise dishonor and criticise all horrors/ Bury the rag deep in your look/ For nows the time for your tears.
Andrew Motions latest collect is Peace Talks ( Faber ).