Bob Dylan — the shock winner Thursday of the Nobel Literature Prize — is not the only singer whose work has been praised for its poetic power.
Here are some of the best known:
The Canadian bard who influenced a whole generation of songwriters with such melancholic ballads as “Suzanne” and “So Long Marianne” has already won Spain’s prestigious Princess of Asturias Award for literature.
He began as a poet and novelist, only moving into songwriting and performing in the mid-1960s.
His last collection of poems, “Book of Longing”, was published to great acclaim in 2006 and later set to music by American composer Philip Glass.
The 82-year-old, who told the New Yorker magazine this week that he was “ready to die — I hope its not too uncomfortable”, will release his 14th album “You Want It Darker” October 21.
Cohen memorably described the writing process as “like a bear stumbling into a beehive or a honey cache: I’m stumbling right into it and getting stuck, and it’s delicious and it’s horrible and painful and yet there’s something inevitable about it.”
The US rock singer and writer is something of a Renaissance woman, equally revered for her poetry and photography as for her music.
Her memoir “Just Kids”, which centres on her intense friendship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the avant garde New York of the early 1970s, was an international bestseller and won her the National Book Award in 2010.
Often seen as the godmother of American punk, the singer of “Horses” is a lifelong fan of the rebellious French poet Arthur Rimbaud. She also befriended the surviving Beat Generation of American writers and poets including Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs.
A big Dylan fan herself, she toured with him in 1995 a year after the death of her husband Fred “Sonic” Smith.
The Australian composer and singer is often seen as a modern Rimbaud, marked by his obsessions with love, death, religion and violence.
The gothic frontman of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is often called rock’s “Prince of Darkness” for the unsparing emotional intensity of his lyrics.
The same taste for the extreme followed him into his novels “And the Ass Saw the Angel”, “The Death of Bunny Munro” and his latest book “The Sick Bag Song”, which he first wrote on airline sickbags.
In keeping with his biblical fixation, he wrote a famously erudite foreword to a new version of the “Gospel according to Mark” in 1996.
The 59-year-old singer, who now lives in England, also wrote the screenplay for the acclaimed outback western “The Proposition”, and as yet unfilmed scripts for a sequel to “Gladiator” and movie version of Brecht and Weill’s “The Threepenny Opera”.
© 2016 AFP
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