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Mike Zwerin over on Bloomberg.com tries to make the case that Bob Dylan should be winning a Pulitzer for poetry rather than a special citation. I was in mid-scoff (yes, I love the Dylan, but it’s hard enough for poets to get attention without competing with Bob) until he made this rather good point via writer Rafi Zabor: “Even the poet we call Homer, who if he existed, sang his epics.” Sure, the singing was a way to remember their epic poems since they weren’t jotted down in a moleskin travel-size notebook, but perhaps the line between song and poetry can be blurred. Can Dylan’s lyrics stand up to the lines of Robert Hass, who just won a Pulitzer for Poetry? Let’s see…

From Hass’ “Heroic Simile”:
“A man and a woman walk from the movies/to the house in the silence of separate fidelities./There are limits to imagination.”


From Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me, Babe”:
“Go melt back into the night, babe/Everything inside is made of stone./There’s nothing in here moving/An’ anyway I’m not alone.”

From Hass’ “Ezra Pound’s Proposition” :
“Beauty is sexual and sexuality/Is the fertility of the earth and the fertility/Of the earth is economics.”


From Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue”:
“I had a job in the great north woods/Working as a cook for a spell/But I never did like it all that much/And one day the ax just fell.”

You decide.