Monday, April 07, 2008

Bob Dylan Wins a Pulitzer Prize

Bob Dylan wins a Special Citation from the Pulitzer Prizes.

"A Special Citation to Bob Dylan for his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power."

After being short-listed for the Nobel Prize in Literature a few times, how excited does one get about a Pulitzer Prize "Special Citation"?

Only 13 people (all men) have previously won the Special Citation. The list includes:

E.B. White (1978)
Milton Babbitt (1982)
Theodor Seuss Geisel (1984)
Thelonious Monk (2006)
John Coltrane (2007)
Ray Bradbury (2007)

At least they gave it to Dylan before he died. Monk in 2006? Coltrane in 2007?

Maybe one day a woman will win . . . . Seems like there have been one or two important women in American history.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . .

"Mr. Tambourine Man" - Newport Folk Festival 1964


Anonymous said...

It's about time that Dylan's lyrics/songs have gotten notice for their social commentary woven with melodic hooks that draws
society's mindlessness away from itself. Jimi Hendrix was known for listening and commenting to all his friends about how Dylan's lyric moved him.

David E

Garpu the Fork said...

I believe that Ellen Zwilich was the first woman composer to win the Pulitzer for music (composition) in the 80's. There's a lot of drama regarding it, that the composers who win it reek of the establishment and the uptown scene, etc. I wonder if it isn't sour grapes, because there are some great pieces on it. In my not-so-humble-opinion, the whole uptown/downtown squabble needs to die. It's not helping music any, and all it's doing is driving wedges, where we (musicians, composers, artists) should be working together. Who cares if someone has a Ph.D or not? It doesn't mean they write good music, nor does it mean that the lack of one makes for a good composer.

crystal said...

Roger Ebert won one once. Nice to see Bradbury recognized.

Anonymous said...

Cool. Bob Dylan's writing is literature! I knew his writing was some how intellectually cohesive and not just-a-positionin of words. Now if I could only understand it at that level.


cowboyangel said...

Dave, Yeah, I always liked how much respect Jimi had for Dylan's work. He was one of the first non-folkie types who publicly dug it. And, of course, his version of "Watchtower" will probably go down as the version.

cowboyangel said...


Interesting comments. I had never heard of Ellen Zwilich. Will have to ask some composer friends about her. No, a PhD shouldn't matter either way when it comes to composition. Or being a good poet or photographer or any other creative artist. Actually, anyone who can survive academia and produce great work should be given major props for not losing their sanity.

And Dylan certain proved that you don't need a PhD or even a college degree to be a great artist. He did one year at U of Minnesota.

Though, now that I think about it, he has at least two Honorary PhDs - one from Princeton that he got in 1970 and one from a university in Scotland that came more recently. His song "Day of the Locusts," on New Morning is a wonderfully sly take on getting his Princeton degree.

cowboyangel said...

Crystal, Yeah, Ebert was the film critic to win a Pulitzer for Criticism. And at least Bradbury got his Special Citation before he died, Unlike Coltrane, whose award came 40 years after his death.

cowboyangel said...

Lawrence, I thought of you when I read the article, wondering if you had seen it. Was there a CNN story just about Dylan? I saw a brief article where they mentioned him among all the other winners.

Now if I could only understand it at that level.

Well, the judge, he cast his robe aside,
A tear came to his eye,
"You fail to understand," he said,
"Why must you even try?"


Garpu the Fork said...

Bah. Sanity is overrated. I'm convinced you have to be a bit batshit to start grad school, in the first place.

cowboyangel said...


Point well taken! :-)

Steve Caratzas said...

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Anonymous said...

Here is the CNN article, I guess they got it from AP newswire.

Great that you can still quote Dylan on demand. I think there is a good search engine idea in that ... Bob-ble Search. Put in your keyword and see what Bob has to say about it.


cowboyangel said...

Bob-ble Search! That's hilarious. Actually, are you sure it doesn't exist already? It sounds like something that would exist.

Interestingly, an old post of mine on "Masters of War" is one of the most visited pages on my blog, always people searching for an analysis of the song. Not sure how much analysis that one really needs - it's always seemed pretty straight-forward ("I hope that you die and your death will come soon.") But in our current war environment, maybe people are looking for words of wisdom on the subject.

Of course, as popular as that post is, it only gets 1/50 of the traffic that my post that included a photo of Brigitte Bardot gets. After more than a year, I still get several visits a week for that one!