In a new review in Spectrum Culture, Dylan Montanari discusses Bob Dylan’s Poetics: How the Songs Work by Timothy Hampton. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read the full review. An excerpt appears below:
“There is much to love in the book, from Hampton’s tour de force reading of Blood on the Tracks and its poetics of evasion—which manages, among other things, to combine Kerouac and Petrarch—to his bravura readings of “Jokerman” and “Every Grain of Sand.” Rich and indispensable endnotes tease out a fascinating array of implications from even the minutest observation.
In Bob Dylan’s Poetics, Hampton takes a daunting body of work and makes it remarkably accessible, offering rich analysis of virtually every song he addresses, while never giving the reader the sense of imposing his interpretation on us at the exclusion of all others. He shows that, as an interpreter, he is the equal of his material, having mastered not only Dylan’s music but also the cultural history of the country that spawned it, as well as the backdrop of European modernism—literary and philosophical—that served as a bottomless reservoir for the Minnesotan bard.”