"A poem is a naked person. Some people say that I am a poet." ~ Bob Dylan
So, I simply can’t celebrate National Poetry Month without mentioning my man.
By cataloguing some of Dylan’s themes, musical preferences, quips, quotes and other bits and pieces from his Theme Time Radio Hour show on XM Satellite radio, McDonald has given us a glimpse into the mind of the Pulitzer Prize winning song and dance man.
I like that Dylan’s given advice on "How to Walk Like a Runway Model," and "How to Give Yourself Dreadlocks." He’s played George Jones more than any other artist; he’s mentioned Shakespeare, Poe, Joyce, Cummings, Yeats, Plath. He’s pontificated on Women’s Names, Shoes, Thanksgiving Leftovers and Spring Cleaning. And you gotta love a man who makes his own barbecue sauce and meatballs, and shares his recipe for Figgy Pudding. Fascinating stuff!
I also listened to "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie" again, and found it very moving, still relevant in these turbulent, uncertain times. This poem is the only one Dylan has ever read in public (April 12, 1963 at New York Town Hall); it’s a tribute to the man who probably had the strongest influence on his music, and speaks to the crucial role the poet/songwriter/artist has in society. Eric Clapton said this about Dylan:
He’s a poet. Basically he’s a poet. He does not trust his voice. He doesn’t trust his guitar playing. He doesn’t think he’s good at anything, except writing—and even then he has self-doubts. Have you heard that thing he wrote about Woody Guthrie? That to me is the sum of his life’s work so far. Whatever happens, that is it. That sums it up.
You can find the poem in its entirety here.