Folk singer, rock singer, songwriter, poet, and Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan has been something of an enigma since he left Hibbing, Minnesota, and emerged as a folk music hero in Greenwich Village in the early ‘60s. Knowing him, much less understanding him, has never been an easy task.
Timothy Hampton, professor of literature at the University of California, Berkeley, believes the best way to understand Dylan is through his songs, which have frequently explored the political, philosophical, and social themes of his time. Drawing on his new book, Bob Dylan’s Poetics, Hampton explores the interplay of music and lyrics to highlight Dylan’s artistry, and he examines the relationships among form, genre, and the political and social themes that crisscross Dylan's work.
Inspired by artists from Woody Guthrie to Arthur Rimbaud, Dylan’s lyrics helped him to win the Nobel Prize. But it is his highly personal dialogue with the music that elevated him to greatness.
Enjoy a glass of sherry with fellow Dylan fans at the end of the program.
Hampton’s book: Bob Dylan's Poetics (MIT Press) is available for sale and signing.
Listen to Timothy Hampton’s interview on the Not Old Better podcast with host Paul Vogelzang.