From Joni to Dylan: On the Bards of 1960s Pop
Mike Mattison and Ernest Suarez on the History of Literature Podcast with Jacke Wilson
For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been using fictional devices to shape their worlds and communicate with one another. Four thousand years ago they began writing down these stories, and a great flourishing of human achievement began. We know it today as literature, a term broad enough to encompass everything from ancient epic poetry to contemporary novels. How did literature develop? What forms has it taken? And what can we learn from engaging with these works today? Hosted by Jacke Wilson, an amateur scholar with a lifelong passion for literature, The History of Literature takes a fresh look at some of the most compelling examples of creative genius the world has ever known.
What happened in the Sixties? How did singers of popular music transform from mere entertainers to the poetic bards of their generation? Were these songs literature? If so, what does that mean? And if not, what exactly are they? In this episode, Jacke talks to the authors of a new book, Poetic Song Verse: Blues-Based Popular Music and Poetry about a new way of acknowledging, analyzing, and discussing the literary qualities of works by singer-songwriters like Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, and those who came before and after.
Mike Mattison is a singer, songwriter, and founding member of Scrapomatic and the Tedeschi Trucks Band with whom he has won two Grammy Awards.
Ernest Suarez is the David M. O’Connell Professor English at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He has published widely on southern literature, poetry, and music.