"He can be read and should be read, and is a great poet in the English tradition"
- Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy

He may not have been the bookies’ favourite, but Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. The selection of a singer/songwriter as Nobel Literature laureate has divided opinion, however the Academy has acknowledged Dylan’s extensive repertoire, noting the way it has “…created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." Click here for a full interview with Professor Sara Danius.

No songwriter has ever won the prize before and this fairly radical choice of laureate suggests a change for the prize – song lyric contribution is now acknowledged alongside literature, poetry and playwriting. Dylan sits alongside other Nobel literature prize winners such as Alice Munro, Doris Lessing, Seamus Heaney and Harold Pinter. Dylan’s musical career began in 1959 and he has sold over 100 million records making him one of the most successful artists of all time. His work has confronted an array of subjects, with songs such as Blowin’ in the Wind, The Times they are A-Changin and Hurricane becoming anthems for the anti-war and American civil rights movements.

To celebrate Dylan’s win we have put together titles that explore the creativity of the man himself and texts that also focus on the poetics within American folk music …

Bob Dylan Political Folksongs In Dylan Town Poetics of American Song Lyrics New Anthology


Bob Dylan
A Descriptive, Critical Discography and Filmography, 1961-2007, Second Edition
John Nogowski
2008 284pp, appendices, bibliography, index
9780786435180 Paperback
Offers an examination of Bob Dylan's five-decade career. This book provides a comprehensive analysis of his writing and recording history, including a look at his shocking autobiography and an exploration of his many rare bootleg recordings.
McFarland

In Dylan Town
A Fan's Life
David Gaines
2015 168pp
9781609383633 Paperback
For fifty years, the music, words, story, and fans of Bob Dylan have fascinated David Gaines. Talking with students, exchanging Dylan trivia with fellow fans, or cheering on fan musicians doing Dylan covers during the Dylan Days festival, Gaines shows that, for many people, being a fan of popular culture couples serious critical and creative engagement with heartfelt commitment.
University of Iowa Press

Political Folk Music in America from Its Origins to Bob Dylan
Lawrence J. Epstein
2010 213pp, notes, bibliography, index
9780786448623 Paperback
This provocative work examines the long tradition of folk music in its American political context and the lives of those troubadours who wrote its most enduring songs. Many American folk singers have tried to leave their world a better place by writing songs of social protest, but the personal tales of these guitar-toting idealists were often more tangled than the comparatively pure vision their art would suggest.
McFarland

T
he Poetics of American Song Lyrics
Edited by Charlotte Pence
2011 312pp
9781617031915 Paperback
American Made Music Series
Presents a collection of academic essays that regard songs as literature and that identify intersections between the literary histories of poems and songs. The first section of the book provides a variety of perspectives on the poetic history and techniques within songs and poems, and the second section focuses on a few prominent American songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Michael Stipe.
University Press of Mississippi

The New Anthology of American Poetry
Postmodernisms 1950-Present
Edited by Steven Gould Axelrod, Camille Roman & Thomas Travisano
2012 592pp
9780813551562 Paperback
Nearly three hundred poems allow readers to explore canonical works by such poets as Elizabeth Bishop, and Sylvia Plath, as well as song lyrics from such popular musicians as Bob Dylan and Queen Latifah. All of the selections are accompanied by extensive introductions and footnotes, making the great poetry of the period fully accessible to readers for the first time.
Rutgers University Press