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Let's celebrate Bob Dylan!


Welcome to a special edition of Poetry Friday, honoring the work of Bob Dylan

The idea for this celebration came from my November 2007 post about "The Diner," by Richard Jones. I was lamenting the inaccessibility of some poetry, and, in general, wishing that it wasn't an art form primarily cultivated by a subculture of students, teachers, aesthetes, or other poets. In Jones' poem, the people at the diner toss names like Baudelaire, Rilke, and Rumi around in their small talk. Poetry is second nature, essential food. Every man's food.

Rich and famous artist/writer Kevin Slattery ( slatts ) and I agreed that Dylan would probably hang out at this diner, since they were talking about Rimbaud and Verlaine, two of his early influences. It would be a natural stop for this lonesome traveler, who once said, "I consider myself a poet first, and a musician second. I live like a poet, and I'll die like a poet." 

Don't let his craggy singing voice deter you from appreciating his singular accomplishment -- 600+ songs which define the last five decades of American culture, blending elements of narrative, chant, ballad, free verse, lament, epic, nonsense rhyme, folk, jazz, blues, country, et. al. It all comes down to the writing, which has earned him several nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Yes, I am a thief of thoughts
not, I pray, a stealer of souls
I have built an rebuilt
upon what is waitin
for the sand on the beaches
carves many castles 
on what has been opened
before my time
a word, a tune, a story, a line
keys in the wind t unlock my mind
an t grant my closet thoughts back yard air . . .

no I must react an spit fast
with weapons of words
wrapped in tunes
that've rolled thru the simple years
teasin me t treat them right
t reshape them an restring them
t protect my own world
from the mouths of all those
who'd eat it . . .

(from #8 of Dylan's 11 Outlined Epitaphs; rest is here.)

*At this very moment, the self-proclaimed Archbishop of Anarchy is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he'll be performing tomorrow night.


1. I'd love to hear your Dylan musings, but posts about songs or poems by anyone else are perfectly fine (we've got lots of seating here, and the tables are wide). Leave your link with Mr. Linky, below, with a comment.

2. Those of you posting about Dylan will automatically be entered into a drawing to win this 2-disc DVD:

       Bob Dylan - No Direction Home

This is Martin Scorsese's 2005 documentary tracing Dylan's early days in Greenwich Village through 1966, when he was famously booed on his world tour for going electric. There is a lot of fascinating commentary from the reclusive Dylan himself (he smiles! he's human! he says his first two girlfriends, Gloria and Echo, brought out the poet in him! Why didn't I know his eyes were so blue?!).

3. Check out my Wednesday post about "Like a Rolling Stone," to find out why this is the one song I would take with me if I were banished to a desert island.

4. Big thanks to Jules of 7-Imp for this anecdote from singer Sam Phillips, whose daughter, Simone, upon hearing Dylan for the first time, asked, "Mommy, is that God singing?" When asked why she thought that, Simone answered, "Because his voice is funny, and it doesn't make me laugh." Oh, yeah!

Thanks for dining with us (jingle, jangle). I'll try to round everybody up by the end of the day.

               ". . . he not busy being born is busy dying."



   Here are the sounds that are filling the diner today:

Mother Reader is full of bright lights and the big city of Las Vegas with her take on The King.

Kelly over at Big A Little a is looking forward to her favorite season with a beautiful poem by Mary Jo Salter and a Dylan favorite which perplexes her, "One More Cup of Coffee for the Road."

John from the Book Mine Set shares the Dylan classic, "The Times They Are a Changin,'" and a very cool original poem about the northern lights.

Susan at Wizards Wireless has been sharing Pooh and friends with her son (yay, bears)!

You must check out Tiel Aisha Ansari's original poem, "Perpetual Amazement," at Knocking from Inside. Wow!

Over at Wild Rose Reader, Elaine is leaping into spring with two original acrostics and a bounty of poetry collections and picture books written in verse. At the Blue Rose Girls, Elaine has posted "When I am Asked," by Lisel Mueller (one of my favorites)!

Ready for a Poetry Friday Mash-up? Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect is celebrating Pi Day, Einstein's birthday, and a wistful Dylan masterpiece, "Every Grain of Sand."

Only Edna St. Vincent Millay will do for Eisha at 7-Imp today -- "Spring" really hits the mark. She's also got "Song for Woody," Dylan's first original song.

Here's the perfect chance to make friends with Sara Lewis Holmes, who's sharing Dylan's "All I Really Wanna Do," at Read Write Believe.

At A Year of Reading, Mary Lee shares a beautiful sunrise with her original, "Daylight Savings Time."

New to Poetry Friday, Kathy from The Brain Lair, is all about school with Tom Wayman.

writer2B is reminded of a Sunday School friend upon discovering Dylan's comic gem,"Ugliest Girl in the World."

Tadmack at Finding Wonderland has posted "Permanence," by Lawrence Raab -- such a gorgeous poem!

At destined to become a classic, Madame T has penned, "I went to war and all I got was this lousy license plate." Not Dylan, but in the same spirit!

You'll find a touching, reflective original poem about "Changing History" through telling stories at Cheryl Rainfield's blog.

Laura Salas shares an excerpt from her article, "How Poems are Gathered and Published," and she's written an original poem about Dylan (love it!) as part of her weekly 15 Poems or Less feature.

Thanks to Chris at book-a-rama for a dose of Dylan's "Mississippi."

cloudscome at A Wrung Sponge has discovered a new Irish poet, Eavan Boland, and her favorite Dylan lyric for today is "God Knows."

At Doing the Write Thing!, Marianne is into snowshoe hares with a poem by Nancy White Carlstrom.

Getting ready for National Poetry Month, Sylvia at Poetry for Children, has posted "Javier," by Kathi Appelt, along with some ideas about how to celebrate during the month of April.

The queen of coffee, Karen Edmisten, has composed a shockingly clever poem called, "It Ain't Me, Bob." Dylan does have a way of inspiring women, to be sure!

Shelf Elf shares her love of museums and Lee Bennett Hopkins' anthology, Behind the Museum Door, with an excerpt from "The Moccasins," by Kristine O'Connell George.

Dive into the sea with Susan's review of Sea Stars: Saltwater Poems, by Avis Harley and Margaret Butschler over at Chicken Spaghetti.

Christine discovered that she knew a lot more Dylan songs than she thought at The Simple and the Ordinary. She graces us with an excerpt from "Blowin' in the Wind."

Liz in Ink is waxing romantic today with thoughts of Bob, Joan Baez and those heartbreaking "Boots of Spanish Leather."

For some substantial Tennyson, visit Michele at the Scholar's Blog.

Prepare to be amazed and impressed by Kevin Slattery's(slatts) visual poem, "When I Paint My Masterpiece," a retrospective gallery showing of all his Dylan-inspired work!

Jill at The Well-Read Child has us pondering Dylan's "Every Grain of Sand."

Get into the ring with Kelly at Writing and Ruminating -- she offers a beautiful review of Charles R. Smith, Jr.'s new verse biography of Muhammed Ali, Twelve Rounds to Glory.

Long-time Dylan fan boreal_owl shares reflections, lyrics for "Maggie's Farm," and an original poem inspired by Dylan, "Highway 401 Revisited," at Words Take Flight. Awesomeness abounds.

Cozy up at Becky's Book Reviews -- she's got 2 videos of "Mr. Tambourine Man," and of course, all the lyrics.

You'll find a nice review of Poems in Black and White by Kate Miller, at  What Adrienne Thinks About That.

Bill at Literate Lives features a poem from Eileen Spinelli's collection, where i live.

Becky's children are memorizing poems by Kipling and Lewis Carroll over at  Farm School.

Over at Mitali's Fire Escape, you'll find a special treat -- an excerpt from her upcoming novel, Secret Keeper (January 2009), which includes some poetry by Bengal's Nobel Laureate, Tagore.

A nice double header over at Laurel's Kid Lit(erary) -- an original poem, "Dear Bob Dylan," and some Norman Dubie.

Miss Erin features the lovely poem,"Poppies," from Tracie Vaughn Zimmer's novel Reaching for Sun.

Don't miss Dylan's "Clean Cut Kid" over at The Reading Zone -- it's a poignant reminder of what Vietnam was all about.

Just in time for the upcoming movie release of Horton Hears a Who, here's a funny review posted by Suzanne at Adventures in Daily Living.

Mary at Audiobooker features Poetry Speaks to Children -- an anthology and CD set with poets reading their own works. 

If you're in the mood for Yeats, visit Crispus Attucks at Dominant Reality, where you'll find "1916," written about the Easter Uprising.

Finally, a sweet anonymous poem called "Guests," found in grandmother's cook book at A Little of This, A Little of That!



( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 13th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
OK, Jama, you made me go downstairs and pull out my copy of Bob Dylan's Lyrics 1962-1985. I also like "Like a Rolling Stone." Also "Positively 4th Street," "Tangled Up in Blue," and "Most Likely You Go Your Way." And the last 2 stanzas especially of "All Along the Watchtower."
Mar. 14th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)
How come?
Here it is Bob Dylan Day....the man who's filled me with so many pictures with his WORDS...and....I can't think of a word to say?

Maybe I'll just go back to my blog and post all the pictures....
Mar. 14th, 2008 02:19 am (UTC)
Love that anecdote. I'm going to have to post and run, because I'm busy tomorrow, but I did find a Dylan lyric to share. I'll be back to leave it with Mr. Linky. Save some leftovers at the diner for me!
Mar. 14th, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
Thanks for hosting, Jama!
Mar. 14th, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)
I'm leaving my contribution early because I won't have a chance in the morning. It's part of a song, so you should approve. Of course, my songwriter wasn't as good as your songwriter, so I had to tweak my song a little. Enjoy!
Mar. 14th, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
I wish I had a more obscure Dylan lyric to share, but a good lyric's a good lyric.

I've also shared an original I'm working on.


John Mutford
Mar. 14th, 2008 04:43 am (UTC)
Thanks for hosting, Jama! I posted a short poem from Winnie-the-Pooh.
Mar. 14th, 2008 07:41 am (UTC)
Poetry Friday
Elaine M.


Thanks for hosting the roundup this week!

At Wild Rose Reader, I have two original acrostic poems for spring and recommendations for some spring and seasonal themed poetry books and picture books in verse.

At Blue Rose Girls, I have a poem by Lisel Mueller entitled "When I Am Asked" in which she explains how she began writing poetry.
Mar. 14th, 2008 08:15 am (UTC)
Miss Rumphius Says
Hi Jama!
I am in with poems today to Einstein, pi and of course, my favorite Dylan lyrics.
Thanks for rounding us up!
Mar. 14th, 2008 10:33 am (UTC)
Hey, nice choice, and a great idea for a contest. I love the song you chose.

I've got an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem, "Spring," plus some lyrics from Dylan's "Song to Woody" at 7-Imp.

Thanks, Jama!

Mar. 14th, 2008 10:54 am (UTC)
Poetry Friday
This is my first time trying this. I'm posting a poem about school that is music to my ears as a teacher librarian!


Mar. 14th, 2008 10:54 am (UTC)
Thanks for hosting! Sorry I have no Dylan lyrics to share :-(

Mary Lee (A Year of Reading)
Mar. 14th, 2008 11:34 am (UTC)
Thanks for hosting, and for the encouragement to learn a little more about Dylan. I knew he was a major musical presence, but I had no idea how many songs he'd written! The muse truly loves him.
Mar. 14th, 2008 12:01 pm (UTC)
TadMack says: :)
Uh oh! I don't think I know a Bob Dylan song. I'm fairly sure that nothing of his has been made over into four part baroque harmony (recently at least) and that's my musical forte. Still, I think he wrote that Blowin' in the Wind song with Peter, Paul & Mary, right?
Mar. 14th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks for hosting Poetry Friday. :) I'm glad you said we could also post other poems. Mine is a poem I wrote about the power of writing to change history, even if only internal history.
Mar. 14th, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC)
I forgot to say who I am (I wrote the writing poem.) I don't have a Live Journal account so it posts me as anonymous.

Cheryl (http://www.cherylrainfield.com/blog)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 14th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
Cover songs
While I don't think I have an aversion to his voice (or Cohen's or Waits, etc), I suspect that deep down I probably do as I often prefer covers of his songs ("Knockin On Heaven's Door", "One More Cup of Coffee", and "All Along The Watchtower" come to mind).

--John Mutford
Mar. 14th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks for hosting Jama. Sorry, though no Bob Dylan here :( Instead I have a poem from The Midnight Dance of the Snowshoe Hare by Nancy White Carlstrom. Definitely not Bob Dylan!!
Mar. 14th, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks for hosting. I'm in with a poem about libraries, "Javier" by Kathi Appelt.
Mar. 14th, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
Cloudscome says:
I have a new-to-me Irish poet today and my Dylan favorite of the day "God Knows". I think I need One More Cup of Coffee For The Road too, (my favorite from college days) so I'm looking forward to cruising the blogs. Thanks for the round up!
Mar. 14th, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)
Karen Edmisten wrote:
Jama, as always, you educate and inform and inspire. I always leave here thinking I have to *tell someone something* ... "Hey, did you know ....???" :-)

I'm in with a very poor original attempt at stringing Dylan titles into a poem, but I had fun doing it.
Mar. 14th, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC)

Oh, wait. That's George Clinton, not Bob Dylan. Oops.

Jama, I'm in with a slightly updated re-run of a a post about a kids poetry book, "Sea Stars: Saltwater Poems." I'm not a Dylan fan. I know. Party of one.

Chicken Spaghetti

Mar. 14th, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks for doing the round up this week.
I'm in with "Blowing in the Wind" because that was the first Dylan song that came to mind.
Mar. 14th, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, Jama. I am really loving this. Humming into Friday. THANK YOU!!!!
Mar. 14th, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
I'm somewhat late on parade this week (it's been a busy day so far!) but I'm in with Alfred Tennyson rather than Dylan. Thanks for rounding up...

Michele (Scholar's Blog)
Mar. 14th, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC)
Stephen Scobie
I'm not sure if you've ever heard of Canadian poet and Dylan fanatic Stephen Scobie but he has a brilliant poem named "Idiot Wind" (after the Dylan song of the same name). It stands alone as a great poem, but if you look closer it reveals itself as an acrostic of sorts: each first word forms a couplet from Dylan's tune. I tried looking for it online, but alas, it's not there.
Mar. 14th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Stephen Scobie
Thanks for the heads up. I've never heard of Scobie, but I'll certainly look for his poem.
Mar. 14th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
Jama -- I just re-did my Mr. Linky. The first one went to the wrong post. Can you delete it???
Mar. 14th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
I'd be glad to if I knew how (ulp)! Alas, I am not as well schooled in these things as Dr. Fineman.
Mar. 14th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
I left my "visual" poem, When I Paint My Masterpiece over at Linky....
Mar. 14th, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC)
Here's mine. I hope I did this right.

Mar. 14th, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks for hosting. I'm not good with the themed Fridays, and I'm not much of a Dylan fan (sorry - although I do like "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Just Like a Woman"), so I've posted a book review of Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali. They bear a lot in common: the same age range (born in 1942 to Dylan's 1941); controversial figures; changed religious affiliations and birth names; protested the Vietnam War and spoke out for peace. Will that do?
Mar. 14th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks for hosting!
I'm in with Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man. I have a YouTube video as well of him performing the song in 1964.

Becky (Becky's Book Reviews)
Mar. 14th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks for hosting, jama!

I'm in with some poems my kids are memorizing to recite at next month's Arts Festival in town -- a little Kipling and Lewis Carroll.

Becky at Farm School
Mar. 14th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I don't know any Bob Dylan songs, but here's a spring-ish poem!

Thanks for the roundup. :)
Mar. 14th, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC)
Like A Rolling Stone
I'm in this week with a brief excerpt of my just-finished novel, Secret Keeper coming 1/09 from Random House, that features
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I'm in this week with a brief excerpt of my just-finished novel, <i>Secret Keeper</i> coming 1/09 from Random House, that features <a href="http://www.mitaliblog.com/2008/03/poetry-friday-light-by-tagore.html"an offering by the Bob Dylan-ish poet/songwriter of West Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore.</a>
Mar. 14th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
Oooh! Ooooh!
I posted and THEN realized it was Dylan Day! What a great idea.

So I posted AGAIN!


(Deleted comment)
Mar. 14th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Dylan Favorite
I don't think Dylan wrote Puff. But many others did cover his songs, PP&M among them.
Re: Dylan Favorite - (Anonymous) - Mar. 14th, 2008 11:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 14th, 2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
Jama, thanks so much for the lovely things you said about my poem! That gave me such a good feeling to read. :)

Cheryl (http://www.cherylrainfield.com/blog)
Mar. 14th, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks for hosting - and for everyone's terrific poetry postings.

Mary Burkey
Mar. 14th, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
Gotta love Dylan! But I cheat and post today about a favorite Dylan mashup...

Mar. 15th, 2008 11:51 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link. Since the Seuss website has been retired, I won't link to you, but I'll still enter you into the contest for the DVD!
Mar. 15th, 2008 02:02 am (UTC)
I don't know much about Bob Dylan, and I can't get my poems to look like poems when I post them, but I am linking up anyway because I promised myself I would!

Thanks to everyone for introducing me to Dylan tonight. :)
Mar. 15th, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)
Re: Grandma
How ironic I just stumbled here. I have been entitling all of my blog entries with Bobby D. lyrics, and feeling oh so obscure! Apparently not!

Mar. 17th, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC)
Every Grain of Sand, Indeed
So YOU'RE the one to blame for all these posts about Dylan I've been reading of late. Good job. Wonderful post. You cast the pebble that started a ton of ripples.

Since you are your 'devotees' all seem to be fans of Mr. Dylan I thought I'd let everyone know about new novel, BLOOD ON THE TRACKS.

It's a murder-mystery. But not just any rock superstar is knocking on heaven's door. The murdered rock legend is none other than Bob Dorian, an enigmatic, obtuse, inscrutable, well, you get the picture...

Suspects? Tons of them. The only problem is they're all characters in Bob's songs.

You can get a copy on Amazon.com or go "behind the tracks" at www.bloodonthetracksnovel.com to learn more about the book.

And again, great post.
Mar. 17th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Every Grain of Sand, Indeed
Thanks for stopping by. Good luck with your book!
Jul. 15th, 2008 02:50 pm (UTC)
late, but here
Thanks for this link, Jama! I regret not knowing about it at the time (having been a sporadic PF participant).
Jul. 15th, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
Re: late, but here
You're very welcome. Just saw your superhero tea party video and loved it!! And that's got to be the best user pic ever . . .
( 49 comments — Leave a comment )

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