Sun, Oct 30, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Bob Dylan responds, elliptically, to Nobel Prize win

NY Times News Service

Bob Dylan performs in Los Angeles on Jan. 12, 2012.

Photo: AP

We finally have an answer. Bob Dylan will, indeed, accept his Nobel Prize in Literature — probably.

In his first comments on the award, made in an interview with, British newspaper The Telegraph, Dylan was asked whether he would attend the Nobel Prize ceremony in Sweden in December.

His response was characteristically mysterious.

“Absolutely,” Dylan said. “If it’s at all possible.”

His comments in the interview — ostensibly to promote an exhibition of his visual art in London — came after two weeks of public silence by Dylan about the Nobel Prize win, during which time members of the 18-person Swedish Academy became increasingly agitated.

First they noted, with some puzzlement, that they had not spoken to Dylan personally. Then another member called his nonresponse “impolite and arrogant.”

(And why couldn’t they reach him? “Well, I’m right here,” Dylan said, “playfully,” and without further explanation.)

In the interview, his first in almost two years, Dylan is described as being surprised, but pleased by the honor.

“It’s hard to believe,” he said.

His reaction upon being told that he had won: “Amazing, incredible. Whoever dreams about something like that?”

He also resisted giving much endorsement to interpretations of his work — even those by the Swedish Academy, which, in announcing Dylan’s prize on Oct. 13, likened his songs to the poems of Homer and Sappho.

“I suppose so, in some way,” Dylan said of that comparison.

Some of his songs, including Ballad of Hollis Brown, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Hurricane and “some others,” he said, “definitely are Homeric in value.”

But: “I’ll let other people decide what they are,” he said. “The academics, they ought to know. I’m not really qualified. I don’t have any opinion.”

The interview also quotes Dylan musing on some of his nonmusical interests. He has been painting since the 1960s, and his iron sculptures include an archway for a new resort casino in Maryland.

“I’d like to drive a race car on the Indianapolis track,” Dylan said. “I’d like to kick a field goal in an NFL football game. I’d like to be able to hit a hundred-mile-an-hour baseball.”

He added: “Everything worth doing takes time. You have to write a hundred bad songs before you write one good one. And you have to sacrifice a lot of things that you might not be prepared for. Like it or not, you are in this alone and have to follow your own star.”

His new art show, The Beaten Path, opens on Sunday next week at the Halcyon Gallery in London. The Nobel ceremony is on Dec. 10 in Stockholm, Sweden.

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