instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

Bob Dylan's Poetics:  How the Songs Work

Bob Dylan's reception of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature has elevated him beyond the world of popular music, establishing him as a major modern artist.  However, until now, no study of his career has focused on the details and nuances of the songs, showing how they work as artistic statements designed to create meaning and elicit emotion.  "Bob Dylan's Poetics:  How the Songs Work" is the first comprehensive book on both the poetics and politics of Dylan's compositions.  It studies Dylan, not as a pop hero, but as an artist, as a maker of songs. Focusing on the interplay of music and lyric, it traces Dylan's innovative use of musical form, his complex manipulation of poetic diction, and his dialogues with other artists, from Woody Guthrie to Arthur Rimbaud.  The book offers both a nuanced engagement with the work of a major artist and a meditation on the contribution of song at times of political and social change.


"This is an essential Dylan book and unlike any other.  Hampton left me with a deeper appreciation of Dylan's uniqueness as both songwriter and singer--his methods, his lyrical and poetic brilliance, his many voices." -Dean Wareham, musician (Galaxie 500, Luna) and author of "Black Postcards."