Friday, October 14, 2016

Bob Dylan: Nobel Laureate

The announcement came yesterday that Bob Dylan is the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. Some are saying, "What?" while others are saying "Yes!" How do I feel about it? On this day, I think I can do no better than to offer a tribute to Dylan's words that I wrote back in November of 2013 and actually re-posted this past summer (do you think my blog post might have influenced the Swedish Academy's decision?).

Here's to the subterranean fires and the luminous eye of Nobel Laureate, Bob Dylan.

Dylan the Welder

Bob Dylan is a welder
Taking words
That have been scattered
And misused
And putting them through the fires
Of humanity’s forge.

It takes a hot pen
To bind mythic thoughts to modern ways;
And a fiery riff
To weld common chords to forsaken phrases,
Fashioning a memorable song of love or theft or ruin.

It takes a spark that was lit by subterranean fires
To ignite the passions
Of a restless generation
Until they gather on the streets
Or courthouse lawns
Or the National Mall
To sing of how many roads.

It takes the fire of human consciousness
Erupting without summons or awareness
To fashion songs that can
Shake a tambourine
Survey a watchtower
Foretell a hard rain
Or catch a slow train.

It takes old embers
To join hands with
Blind Willie
Hattie Carroll
And the sad-eyed lady.

It takes new fire
To speak to the hopes of a young woman
In a world that is spinning
Or the dreams of an old man
When shadows are falling.

Bob Dylan is a welder
Fashioning new gates
From worn-out words,
Burning old hopes
Onto new frames.

It takes ancient fire
To fashion timeless tales
Of joy and struggle,
And a luminous eye
To forge a song that is true.

                              ~ Charles Kinnaird

The inspiration for this poem came from an online article telling about how Bob Dylan keeps welding supplies at his home in Malibu where he creates iron gates from scrap pieces of metal. Some of his welding work is now on display at London’s Halcyon Gallery.

(photos by John Shearer via Daily Mail)



  1. Excellent. My fiction teacher and editor Carollyne Scott shared your blog address with me, since I, too, am a Bobcat and wrote about Dylan and the Nobel Prize on my blog since the announcement. I just used Dylan's word to make my case for the prize. You created your own poetry tribute. Love the poem and the references that word-loving Dylan fans understand and appreciate. Nice job. Here is my latest Dylan post:

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jackie. I enjoyed your essay "Dylan Nobel Laureate: Bobcats vindicated" which has an extensive cataloging of Dylan quotes that address a spectrum of issues across society.


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