Bob Dylan is the first songwriter to win the Nobel Prize for literature

The fantastically brief press release from the Nobel Prize hivemind says, simply, "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".

Dylan is the first songwriter to win a Nobel in literature, and only the eighth American to win the prize. Dylan — who won a Pulitzer in 2008 — has been performing for more than 50 years and has released 37 albums.

"If you look far back, 5000 years, you discover Homer and Sappho. They wrote poetic texts which were meant to be performed, and it's the same way for Bob Dylan," Sara Danius, the academy's permanent secretary, said. "We still read Homer and Sappho, and we enjoy it."

"Bob Dylan writes poetry for the ear," she added. "But it's perfectly fine to read his works as poetry."

Biobibliographical notes [Swedish Academy]

Bob Dylan becomes first songwriter to win a Nobel Prize
[Amanda Hoover/Christian Science Monitor]

(Image: Joan Baez Bob Dylan crop, National Archives, PD)