People have reacted to the news of Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize in a variety of ways. Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits extended sincere congratulations, Leonard Cohen compared it to “pinning a medal on Mount Everest for being the highest mountain,” and Tim Heidecker wrote a parody song about it. Heck, even Dylan’s own high school expressed their pride. Though he’s not around to say so himself, something tells us author Kurt Vonnegut wouldn’t have been so complimentary about the whole thing.
In a November 1991 interview with Hustler, the acclaimed novelist was asked about his musical tastes. After expressing an aversion to rap, Vonnegut made his opinion on Dylan clear in no uncertain terms: “The Beatles have made a substantial contribution. Bob Dylan, however, is the worst poet alive. He can maybe get one good line in a song, and the rest is gibberish.”
Burn. It’s a shame we’ll never know how Vonnegut would’ve reacted to “the worst poet alive” becoming the first musician to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, though one imagines he would’ve had something bitingly satirical to add to the conversation.
Hustler will republish the interview in their upcoming December issue, and you can read the full thing here. Dylan, meanwhile, will receive his Nobel Prize during a ceremony on December 10th — that is, if he ever returns the committee’s calls. Though he’s ignored all attempts at contact thus far, his website has finally acknowledged the honor; the phrase “Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature” now sits at the top of the page for his upcoming lyrics collection, The Lyrics: 1961-2012.