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5 poets that Bob Dylan listed as favorites

Bob Dylan


5 poets that Bob Dylan listed as favorites

One of the most influential musicians of all time, Bob Dylan wrote more than 600 songs in the past six decades, making him one of the most prolific writers in history. The musician was even awarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature back in 2016, primarily for his work as a songwriter.


In his speech, Dylan said: “When I first received this Nobel Prize for Literature, I got to wondering exactly how my songs related to literature. I wanted to reflect on it and see where the connection was.”

Since the early days of his career, Dylan was interested in literature and during a press conference back in 1965 he listed his 5 favorite poets. Curiously, two of the names mentioned were from songwriters. Especially back then, songwriting wasn’t very often compared to poetry or literature.

5 poets that Bob Dylan listed as favorites

Arthur Rimbaud

Born in Charleville, France in 1854, Arthur Rimbaud is remembered for his transgressive and surreal themes that inspired the surrealism symbolism. Some of his notable works are “The Drunken Boat” (1871), “A Season in Hell” (1873) and “Illuminations” (1873).

He passed away too soon at the age of 37 in 1891, a victim of cancer.

W.C. Fields

William Claude Dukenfield, known as W.C. Fields was a comedian, actor and writer born in Darby, Pennsylvania in 1880. One of his most famous books is “Fields For President”, published during the 1940 presidential campaign. The publication had humorous essays in the form of a campaign speech.

He is one of the figures that are in the crowd on the cover of The Beatles’ classic 1967 album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. Curiously, Bob Dylan is also on the cover of that album.

Smokey Robinson

Best known as a singer, Smokey Robinson was the founder, producer, songwriter and frontman of the Motown vocal group The Miracles. Even though Robinson is not originally a writer or poet, Dylan considered him as a poet for his work in music.

Some of Robinson’s most famous songs are “Cruisin'”, “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”, “The Tracks of My Tears”, “Tears of a Clown” and “Being With You”. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, one year before Bob Dylan.

Allen Ginsberg

Born in Newark, New Jersey back in 1926, Allen Ginsberg was a poet and writer. He is famous for being part of the core of the Beat Generation. That literary movement that rejected the standard narrative values, often making spiritual quests and rejecting economic materialism. Also talking about drugs and sex.

His most famous poem “Howl”, was written in 1955 and published in 1956 in the collection “Howl and Other Poems”.

Charlie Rich

Another musician that Bob Dylan considered a true poet was the Country Music singer and songwriter Charlie Rich. His composition style was often difficult to classify since he mixed Rockabilly, Jazz, Blues, Country and Gospel.

Some of his most famous hits are “Behind Closed Doors” and “The Most Beautiful Girl”.

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