A Minnesota “Who Am I”?

Robert was a young man with big dreams; he just didn’t know where they would take him yet. He moved from his childhood home near Lake Superior to attend the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where his studies were more or less neglected. Robert was more interested in writing poems than he was with obtaining a degree and a 9-5 job. In 1960, he dropped out of the University and moved to New York where he spent much of his time hanging around in coffee shops. It was in these dimly lit enclaves that Robert began to hear talk about politics and the Vietnam War, and so he began to write poems that dealt with those issues. These poems spoke to people, yet he wasn’t publishing his poems in books, though they undoubtedly would have sold well if he had. Even though his poems weren’t in books, Robert grew a very large following and became quite famous. So famous, in fact, that he was featured on the covers of magazines and dated notable celebrities of the time.

In 1965, Robert was happily wedded to a nice girl named Sarah and they started a family. His writing style had begun to change with the times as many artists’ do, and his fans began to turn against him. For months, people booed him off the stage when he performed his poems. On top of the scrutiny of his fans, Robert suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident and was unable to continue performing. He performed only a handful of times over the next eight years, and quietly kept out of the public eye, preferring to spend time with his wife and kids. It was during this time that Robert finally did receive his degree, it was an honorary Doctorate from Princeton University, and his first book of poems was published to rave reviews.

But not everything was going great for Robert. It seems his drinking got the best of him, and his wife divorced him soon after. Robert did clean up his act though, and later in his life the poems that he had written over the years were finally noticed for their greatness. He’s since been nominated for the Noble prize in literature 10 times, even though he has yet to win. As they say, it’s an honor just to be nominated.

You may be thinking that you must have heard of this great American poet, with his honorary degrees and Nobel nominations. Well, that’s because you have. What we didn’t tell you about Robert is that he is also a talented musician. His poems were the lyrics to a career that has included more than 40 albums. You see, Robert’s real name is Robert Allen Zimmerman of Duluth, Minnesota. You may know him by the name he uses today, Bob Dylan.

 

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