Better late than never.
Today’s piece is not really a poem, at least not in the conventional sense of the word. It is a song by Bob Dylan, who, conincidentally, received a Special Citation at yesterday’s Pulitzer Prize ceremony, for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” Even if he had not received this somewhat half-assed award, you would still find him in this post today.
The song is “Desolation Row” from his 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited. If you have never listened to this album, you ought to get a copy first thing tomorrow. It certainly ranks among my top-five all-time favorite records. The same goes for the song. You will hardly find such incredible songwriting in combination with such great music anywhere else.
But enough blabbering. Let the man’s voice be heard and his words be read. The complete lyrics can be had from Dylan’s official website (by the way, lyrics to all of his songs are available there). The full track can be streamed below. All 11 minutes and 22 seconds of it. As usual, do yourself a favor and read the lyrics while you are listening to the song. Just open them in a new window and play the track below. Immerse yourself in some mid-1960s greatness. (More and more often I get the feeling that I was born in the wrong decade.)
Other poems for April
Poets.org: Caroline Knox, “Line Poem”
Knopf: Edward Hirsch, “Self Portrait” (includes audio recording by Hirsch; the link to that is above the poem’s title)