Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and everyone has an opinion. He's great and totally deserves it. He's a good musician, but can't stand as a poet. He's terrible at music and poetry. Only people who write serious literature deserve the award. Poets can't win a Grammy so why can he win an award for writers?
On and on.
I don't have an opinion of Bob Dylan as an artist. I was born in the middle of the 80s, and missed a lot of his stuff. But I know who he is and how he's influenced multitudes of people... how he has impacted music.
Songwriters are poets, when you cut out melody. Poets, anyone can attest, are eligible for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Thus, he should be eligible. Any fabulously gifted songwriter should be. But the lyrics must hold up without instruments. A lot of sentimentality is attached to inferior lyrics because of a kicking beat or sweet guitar.
Should Bob Dylan have won? Depends on who you're asking. Art (any kind of art) is subjective. Some writers will point to one song's lyrics as horrible and say such stinkers should disqualify him. Who hasn't had work out in the world someone thought was terrible?
Some writers say he has enough accolades already without taking the meager offerings real writers get, but the amount of awards available (or unavailable) to writers isn't Bob's fault. He didn't beg for the award. He hasn't closed down prize committees for contests honoring writers. He just... did what he does.
People are murmuring about him being a jerk. According to naysayers, he's always been one. It is true he hasn't spoken to the committee or even mentioned it. If arrogant, unkind behavior resulted in forfeit of any prize or position though, we (humanity) wouldn't have hardly any government officials, much less the available honors for artists that we do.
I'm uncertain how many "normal" people care about Nobel Prizes, especially in America. But, if people are talking about Bob Dylan's win, wouldn't this be a good time for poets to point out that songs are poems? That poetry can be fun, readable, relatable? Couldn't we leverage this into something just a fraction extraordinary? Nah. We'd rather argue. Why bother being productive? We'd have to do something more than run our mouths.