Bob Dylan: Brecht of the Juke Box, Poet of the Electric Guitar by Jack Newfield (January 1967)


“Norman Morrison burned himself to death to protest the Viet­nam war, and when reporters visited his spare room they saw quotes from Bob Dylan scrawled on the peeling walls. Students at the University of California have organized a non-credit seminar on Dylan’s poetry. Esquire Magazine quotes Stokely Carmich­ael singing to himself — not an Otis Redding blues — but Dylan. In a recent peace demonstration a teenybopper marched with a home-made placard that bore the crayoned motto, ‘The hypnotic splattered mist is slowly lifting,’ a line from Dylan’s ‘The Chimes or Freedom.’  W. H. Auden, Howard Nemerov, and Norman Podhoretz say they have never heard of Dylan. Critic and poet John Ciardi says Dylan knows nothing about poetry. Even Norman Mailer, existentialist fight manager and white hope of the over-30 generation, says, ‘If Dylan is a poet, so is Cassius Clay.’ But 25-year-old Dylan, the Brecht of the juke box, has already won this generation of rebels, just as Kerouac and Camus have won earlier generations. Dylan’s words, values, imagery, even his eccentric life-style, are grooved into more under-30 brains than any other writer’s. And the miracle of it is that almost nobody over 30 in the literary and intellectual establishments even pays attention to his electronic guitar-coated nightmare visions of America as Times Square arcade at 2 a. m., where. … Two cultural traditions have grown up in America, one en­shrined in respectability and the other quarantined by its illegiti­macy. One is the university and the fashionable periodicals and it runs from T. S. Eliot to Edmund Wilson to Saul Bellow. But for a century now there has been an angry subterranean brook cutting away the bedrock beneath the arid soil of the New Yorker. This bastard tradition goes back to Whitman and Poe, and include Charlie Parker, Lenny Bruce, William Burroughs, and now Bob Dylan. It’s energy comes from slums, alleys and jails, instead of libraries, classrooms, and editorial office. …”
Voice
W – The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert
YouTube: No direction home ending scene. “Like a Rolling Stone” (Live), Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Live)
YouTube: Live 1966 “The Royal Albert Hall Concert” The Bootleg Series Vol. 4  15 videos

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