Kurt Vonnegut in 1991: “Bob Dylan Is the Worst Poet Alive”
Posted on 21 October 2016
Bob Dylan’s writing has been a major topic of discussion since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. As it turns out, acclaimed author Kurt Vonnegut was not a fan during his lifetime. In a November 1991 interview with Hustler, which the magazine will run in its upcoming December issue, interviewer Kevin P. Simonson asked Vonnegut plainly, “What are your musical tastes?” His answer:
We’ll start from the back and work forward. I hate rap. The Beatles have made a substantial contribution. Bob Dylan, however, is the worst poet alive. He can maybe get one good line in a song, and the rest is gibberish.
Check out Kurt Vonnegut’s full interview, which took place at a Nebraska nightclub on his 69th birthday, here.
It has now been a week since the Nobel Prize committee informed the world of Dylan’s honor. For the first few days after the announcement, however, Dylan had not acknowledged the award. According to the committee’s Permanent Secretary, he was ignoring all of their emails and calls, including an invitation to the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in December. While there’s no word on his communication with the committee, Dylan’s website has finally made mention of the Nobel Prize, as Spin points out. The page for his book The Lyrics: 1961-2012 now indicates in all-caps that Dylan is the “Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.”
Artists from across disciplines have reacted to Bob Dylan’s win: Tom Waits congratulated Dylan; Leonard Cohen said giving Dylan the Nobel Prize “is like pinning a medal on Mount Everest for being the highest mountain”; and Tim Heidecker even paid homage with an impersonation.
Read the op-ed “The World Does Not Need Bob Dylan, Nobel Prize Winner in Literature” on the Pitch.
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