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Nobel Prize 2016
Topic Started: Aug 19 2016, 06:46 PM (18,760 Views)
alliknowis
Literary lunatic
[ *  *  * ]
Wole Soyinka: “Since I’ve written quite a number of songs for my plays, I would like to be nominated for a Grammy"

http://thisisafrica.me/wole-soyinka-says-like-nominated-grammy/
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redhead
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books & beer
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Thought this was relevant given the discussion on lyrics and songwriting: RIP Leonard Cohen

http://leonardcohen.com/
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nnyhav
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so no he won't be attending the ceremony:
http://www.svenskaakademien.se/en/press/bob-dylan-has-decided-not-to-come-to-stockholm
a less than charitable take:
https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/11/it-pays-to-be-a-jerk-episode-4745-bob-dylan/507935/
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Bjorn
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Dylan's acceptance speech, delivered by the US ambassador, may be the snarkiest one in a long time, or (more charitably) one that's just as bewildered by the whole shebang as everyone else.

Quote:
 
Good evening, everyone. I extend my warmest greetings to the members of the Swedish Academy and to all of the other distinguished guests in attendance tonight.

I'm sorry I can't be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honored to be receiving such a prestigious prize. Being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature is something I never could have imagined or seen coming. From an early age, I've been familiar with and reading and absorbing the works of those who were deemed worthy of such a distinction: Kipling, Shaw, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck, Albert Camus, Hemingway. These giants of literature whose works are taught in the schoolroom, housed in libraries around the world and spoken of in reverent tones have always made a deep impression. That I now join the names on such a list is truly beyond words.

I don't know if these men and women ever thought of the Nobel honor for themselves, but I suppose that anyone writing a book, or a poem, or a play anywhere in the world might harbor that secret dream deep down inside. It's probably buried so deep that they don't even know it's there.

If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel Prize, I would have to think that I'd have about the same odds as standing on the moon. In fact, during the year I was born and for a few years after, there wasn't anyone in the world who was considered good enough to win this Nobel Prize. So, I recognize that I am in very rare company, to say the least.

I was out on the road when I received this surprising news, and it took me more than a few minutes to properly process it. I began to think about William Shakespeare, the great literary figure. I would reckon he thought of himself as a dramatist. The thought that he was writing literature couldn't have entered his head. His words were written for the stage. Meant to be spoken not read. When he was writing Hamlet, I'm sure he was thinking about a lot of different things: "Who're the right actors for these roles?" "How should this be staged?" "Do I really want to set this in Denmark?" His creative vision and ambitions were no doubt at the forefront of his mind, but there were also more mundane matters to consider and deal with. "Is the financing in place?" "Are there enough good seats for my patrons?" "Where am I going to get a human skull?" I would bet that the farthest thing from Shakespeare's mind was the question "Is this literature?"

When I started writing songs as a teenager, and even as I started to achieve some renown for my abilities, my aspirations for these songs only went so far. I thought they could be heard in coffee houses or bars, maybe later in places like Carnegie Hall, the London Palladium. If I was really dreaming big, maybe I could imagine getting to make a record and then hearing my songs on the radio. That was really the big prize in my mind. Making records and hearing your songs on the radio meant that you were reaching a big audience and that you might get to keep doing what you had set out to do.

Well, I've been doing what I set out to do for a long time, now. I've made dozens of records and played thousands of concerts all around the world. But it's my songs that are at the vital center of almost everything I do. They seemed to have found a place in the lives of many people throughout many different cultures and I'm grateful for that.

But there's one thing I must say. As a performer I've played for 50,000 people and I've played for 50 people and I can tell you that it is harder to play for 50 people. 50,000 people have a singular persona, not so with 50. Each person has an individual, separate identity, a world unto themselves. They can perceive things more clearly. Your honesty and how it relates to the depth of your talent is tried. The fact that the Nobel committee is so small is not lost on me.

But, like Shakespeare, I too am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavors and dealing with all aspects of life's mundane matters. "Who are the best musicians for these songs?" "Am I recording in the right studio?" "Is this song in the right key?" Some things never change, even in 400 years.

Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, "Are my songs literature?"

So, I do thank the Swedish Academy, both for taking the time to consider that very question, and, ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer.

My best wishes to you all,

Bob Dylan


Also, here's Patti Smith performing "Hard Rain" at the Nobel ceremony:
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alliknowis
Literary lunatic
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Bjorn
Dec 11 2016, 12:15 PM
Dylan's acceptance speech, delivered by the US ambassador, may be the snarkiest one in a long time, or (more charitably) one that's just as bewildered by the whole shebang as everyone else.

Quote:
 
Good evening, everyone. I extend my warmest greetings to the members of the Swedish Academy and to all of the other distinguished guests in attendance tonight.

I'm sorry I can't be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honored to be receiving such a prestigious prize. Being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature is something I never could have imagined or seen coming. From an early age, I've been familiar with and reading and absorbing the works of those who were deemed worthy of such a distinction: Kipling, Shaw, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck, Albert Camus, Hemingway. These giants of literature whose works are taught in the schoolroom, housed in libraries around the world and spoken of in reverent tones have always made a deep impression. That I now join the names on such a list is truly beyond words.

I don't know if these men and women ever thought of the Nobel honor for themselves, but I suppose that anyone writing a book, or a poem, or a play anywhere in the world might harbor that secret dream deep down inside. It's probably buried so deep that they don't even know it's there.

If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel Prize, I would have to think that I'd have about the same odds as standing on the moon. In fact, during the year I was born and for a few years after, there wasn't anyone in the world who was considered good enough to win this Nobel Prize. So, I recognize that I am in very rare company, to say the least.

I was out on the road when I received this surprising news, and it took me more than a few minutes to properly process it. I began to think about William Shakespeare, the great literary figure. I would reckon he thought of himself as a dramatist. The thought that he was writing literature couldn't have entered his head. His words were written for the stage. Meant to be spoken not read. When he was writing Hamlet, I'm sure he was thinking about a lot of different things: "Who're the right actors for these roles?" "How should this be staged?" "Do I really want to set this in Denmark?" His creative vision and ambitions were no doubt at the forefront of his mind, but there were also more mundane matters to consider and deal with. "Is the financing in place?" "Are there enough good seats for my patrons?" "Where am I going to get a human skull?" I would bet that the farthest thing from Shakespeare's mind was the question "Is this literature?"

When I started writing songs as a teenager, and even as I started to achieve some renown for my abilities, my aspirations for these songs only went so far. I thought they could be heard in coffee houses or bars, maybe later in places like Carnegie Hall, the London Palladium. If I was really dreaming big, maybe I could imagine getting to make a record and then hearing my songs on the radio. That was really the big prize in my mind. Making records and hearing your songs on the radio meant that you were reaching a big audience and that you might get to keep doing what you had set out to do.

Well, I've been doing what I set out to do for a long time, now. I've made dozens of records and played thousands of concerts all around the world. But it's my songs that are at the vital center of almost everything I do. They seemed to have found a place in the lives of many people throughout many different cultures and I'm grateful for that.

But there's one thing I must say. As a performer I've played for 50,000 people and I've played for 50 people and I can tell you that it is harder to play for 50 people. 50,000 people have a singular persona, not so with 50. Each person has an individual, separate identity, a world unto themselves. They can perceive things more clearly. Your honesty and how it relates to the depth of your talent is tried. The fact that the Nobel committee is so small is not lost on me.

But, like Shakespeare, I too am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavors and dealing with all aspects of life's mundane matters. "Who are the best musicians for these songs?" "Am I recording in the right studio?" "Is this song in the right key?" Some things never change, even in 400 years.

Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, "Are my songs literature?"

So, I do thank the Swedish Academy, both for taking the time to consider that very question, and, ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer.

My best wishes to you all,

Bob Dylan


Also, here's Patti Smith performing "Hard Rain" at the Nobel ceremony:
A not uninteresting speech which nevertheless provides further evidence that words are not his true medium.
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johnnywalkitoff
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I really like the speech.
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Uemarasan
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I like the speech, too, and didn't think it snarky at all. It had a good dose of humility and earthiness.
Edited by Uemarasan, Dec 11 2016, 06:46 PM.
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Cleanthes
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50 years ago, what a year of candidates for the Nobel!
Just among the writers I love:
Akhmatova, Aragon, Auden, Beckett, Borges, Boll, Celan, Char, Forster, Frisch, Gombrowicz, Grass, Graves, Graham Greene, Junger, Kawabata, Montale, Montherlant, Nabokov, Neruda, Pound, and Vesaas.
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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Sam couldn't see why anyone would want it (letter to Stuart Mackenzie)
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Bloß ein Língshān
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Is it short enough you could transcribe it, biscuits?
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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tomorrow, Bloss :)

and yes I know he took it, but reluctantly and presumably as injurious, intrusive for all that. If you don't like prizes or attention, it can be all but impossible to explain yourself to those that do.
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Bloß ein Língshān
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Maybe you've given some phd student browsing this thread a thesis idea: a comparative analysis between the psychology of prize culture between beckett and dylan and their subsequent dealings with receiving a 'highest honor'.
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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I misremembered surname, which was familiar to me, but not as familiar to me as others I've mentioned, this from a letter to Stuart Maguiness on 13.12.66 [for 12th December 1966]

Dear Stuart

Many thanks for your letter. I am deeply moved by what you tell me. I have no idea how the Nobel works, simply know that there has been talk of it for me these past three or four years. Frankly I have no ambitions in that direction. It is difficult to regard it as a[n] honour, even supposing an appetite for honour, and as for money I have enough for my dwindling needs. But that you should feel that way about me goes to the old heart.

(Volume 4, page 56, "you" "me" underlined. Note "...even supposing...")


and I've just now read this (p. 194, again from a letter to Stuart Maguiness, this one dated 14.11.69)

I tried not to get it and failed. I don't know if it was right to accept. Probably there is no right in this situation. I won't go to Stockholm. They don't seem unduly displeased. My French publisher will represent me. I hope the work will forgive me and let it near me again. I can say this to you who understand.

Edited by oneofmurphysbiscuits, Jan 5 2017, 10:57 AM.
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Bloß ein Língshān
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Takk skal du ha!

I enjoy the warmth, sincerity, and modesty (regarding how much monetary assistance he needs). Also curious to see the hum and hawing if he should accept, then accepting, then lightly regretting it, then denying the chair of poetry. Makes me wonder why he said yes in the first.
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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Sam was unfailingly generous with money to friends and family. The Chair didn't surprise me, as to the Nobel, he appears to have resented but in assorted ways dealt with the incursion and more than dealt with the correspondence attending upon. It's about work, not praise after all. To be read and seen and where possible understood, I suppose. The rest is kerfuffle. "Such honours are not for me"
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Bloß ein Língshān
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Yeah, obviously if he sent an envoy to Stockholm, he wasn't going to be a full-time professor, but I was more wondering if he appreciated/understood the cult that surrounds the Nobel, that by accepting he'd be harangued by unwanted propositions. (He probably already was.)
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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He didn't enjoy teaching, much less talking about his work at length, and again only surmising, but very likely he didn't give much thought to the Nobel, why would he? Sam was a polite and generous correspondent when offering congratulations, say, but if prizes didn't figure for him personally, why would he spend time thinking about.
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Bloß ein Língshān
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I guess Dylan is giving a speech? Or something? He has concerts in Stockholm on April 1 & 2, which I think fits into the timeline to get the money.

https://akademibloggen.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/dylanaret-ar-inte-slut/
https://akademibloggen.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/t-shirten/

lol at her feisty, "Den får bara bäras av utvalda, det vill säga av folk som menar att sångtexter mycket väl kan vara poesi."
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Uemarasan
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Bloss, thank you for the link to Sara's blog. I do love her and the fact that she is so chic!

In a way, I'm glad that Dylan didn't attend the ceremony, because now we have a very lovely performance by Patti Smith. I thought this version of the song was quite beautiful.
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nnyhav
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https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/mar/29/bringing-it-all-back-home-bob-dylan-finally-agrees-to-collect-nobel-prize
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