Like many an academically beloved poet — say, Ezra Pound or T. S. Eliot — Mr. Dylan has always placed himself on a literary continuum where allusions focus and amplify meaning. — Jon Pareles, NY Times
I think this is true. But speaking of continuums, I also think poetry and song lyrics lie along one of them doohickeys. At one end are impressive, irresistible poems that can’t be set to any substantial music without being blurred or diminished. At the other end are perfect words for knockout songs that don’t work a fraction as well without their music raiment.
No question Dylan lies way more toward the literary end of the scale. But that does not mean the opposite ends of the continuum are identical. My serious gripe is with the Nobel categories. Why in the blank hell is there no Nobel Prize for Music? If you want to go over the top, you could holler that the Lit Prize is a bit of a dis to Dylan — implying that none of his tunes belong in the same exalted universe as his lyrics.