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Bob Dylan Is the First Pop Musician to Win a Pulitzer

April 09, 2008 10:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Bob Dylan was awarded a special citation from the Pulitzer Board for his poetic contributions to popular music.

30-Second Summary

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Bob Dylan was among the 2008 Pulitzer Prize recipients announced this week, making him the first pop musician to win the prize.

The Pulitzer Board has previously been criticized for only giving awards to musicians “in good standing of classical music's old-boy network.” Frequently, the pieces that won went unheard by the general public and “vanished without a trace.”

The board has been making efforts in recent years to better represent popular tastes by awarding the Pulitzer to jazz musicians, but rock music was previously “dismissed as barbaric, even subversive.”

However the response to Dylan’s award has been enthusiastic, especially from other recipients. David Lang, who won for his classical piece “The Little Match Girl Passion,” said, “I am not fit to touch the hem of his shoes.”

Juot Diaz, who won the fiction prize, responded with similar enthusiasm. “I am in disbelief,” he said.

Dylan is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and won an Oscar in 2001 for his song “Things Have Changed.”

Headline Links: Dylan wins Pulitzer

Background: Dylan’s previous awards

Opinion and Analysis: Musicians and the Pulitzer Prize

Related Topics: Dylan in books and movies

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