Here are some resources that Dr. Palaima has posted on everything related to Dylan (which can be a lot of things!), from readings to playlists to talks

Dylan’s “Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and the Art of Listening (Sept. 11, 2014)

Personal Readings of Dylan Songs as Poems:

Review October 25, 2016 Shreveport Show

Thomas Palaima’s Lecture at Classical Studies to Broadcast on WBUR, 3/5/17 @ 9PM: Personal Agency and the Big Switch 1962-64: Thucydides, Bob Dylan and Stanley Kubrick
Link to Article
Link to Audio

T. Palaima, “Songs of the ‘Hard Traveler’ from Odysseus to the Never-Ending Tourist,” Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 26/27 (2010/11) 189-206.

This article studies themes connected with traveling and existing away from home from the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer through the modern folk song tradition as performed and transformed by Bob Dylan, including songs by the Stanley Brothers, Charley Patton, Skip James, Muddy Waters, Stephen F. Foster, Martin Carthy and Dionysis Savvopoulos.

Access article here:
Songs of the ‘Hard Traveler’ from Odysseus to the Never-Ending Tourist

Senior Fellows Honors Program School of Communications  BMC 5.208  TUESDAY NOVEMBER 13 12:30-1-45

“Second Last Thoughts on Bob Dylan’s ‘Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie'”

A talk by Tom Palaima, professor of Classics, University of Texas at Austin

On Jan. 29, 1961, Bob Dylan, 19 years old, took a bus to Morris Plains, New Jersey, where he met for the first time his idol and inspiration Woody Guthrie, 48 years of age, who, almost five years before, in May, 1956, had been ‘involuntarily checked into’ Greystone Park Hospital with advanced Huntington’s Chorea.

On Feb. 14, 1961, Dylan wrote “Song for Woody” (SFW). Two years later, on April 12, 1963, at New York’s Town Hall, before 900 people, Dylan recited a poem of five pages, “Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie” ((LTOWG). Guthrie would live four and a half more years after Dylan had his “last thoughts.”

In this talk, professor Palaima will examine these two tributes, considering the following questions: What would Woody Guthrie’s condition have been when Dylan met him?  What impact would Dylan’s finding out at this time about the range of Guthrie’s genius have had on Dylan? What would Guthrie’s end condition have taught Dylan about what is important in life with regard to fame, music, personal choices, creativity society and the human heart and soul? And how might this have affected, in large or small ways, where Dylan decided to go with his life and his music?

Tom Palaima is Robert M. Armstrong Centennial Professor of Classics and has written commentaries, reviews and articles about musical figures like Pinetop Perkins, Jimmy LaFave, Woody Guthrie, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. He teaches and writes about war song and music as social commentary.

See, for example:  http://www.texasobserver.org/archives/item/15265-2665-alive-and-singing-the-truth  and



Contact: Dave Junker, junker@austin.utexas.edu, 512-773-0673


TODO Austin is a free-distribution, full-color, monthly newspaper that focuses on Austin’s multicultural community. The May issue is in distribution today.

The articles in the May 2015 issue, which features a beautiful full color photo of Dylan on its cover, are:

  • Gavin Lance Garcia (editor and publisher), “Living in the Age of Bob Dylan” p. 8
  • Richard Thomas (Harvard University Classics), “Into Exile With Bob Dylan: Rome to the Black Sea” p. 8
  • Kurt Heinzelman (UT Austin English), “Dylan’s Turkish Delights” p. 9
  • Tom Palaima (UT Austin Classics), “A Classical Bard Brings It All Back Home” pp. 9-10

For your convenience I attach a pdf that excerpts the pages of writing about Dylan and his music.

The entire issue and back issues can be easily found here on the TODO web site.

Here you can access a collection of war songs at:

Lyrics for many of these songs with some comments are available here.

This mp3 has twenty songs of war that I use in my Myths of War and Violence Plan II seminar:

  1. Steve Earle “Rich Man’s War” (Iraq, Afghanistan);
  2. Richie Havens, “Handsome Johnny” (historical sweep from Revolutionary War to civil rights movement);
  3. Richie Havens, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Civil War);
  4. Bob Dylan, “John Brown” (unspecified);
  5. Blind Willie Johnson, “When the War Was On” (WW I);
  6. Woody Guthrie, “Sinking of the Reuben James” (WW II);
  7. Perry Como, “Dig You Later (A Hubba-Hubba-Hubba) (WW II);
  8. Townes van Zandt, “Ballad of Ira Hayes” (WW II);
  9. Sunnyland Slim, “Back to Korea Bluees” (Korean War);
  10. Bob Dylan & Mark Knopfler, “Clean Cut Kid” studio session (Vietnam War);
  11. Bob Dylan, “Masters of War” Gerdes Feb. 1963 (Cold War period, unspecified);
  12. Bob Dylan, “Masters of War” Berlin 2002 (unspecified);
  13. J.B. Lenoir, “Veitnam (sic) Blues) (Vietnam War);
  14. Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Fortunate Son” (Vietnam War period);
  15. Todd Snider, “Fortunate Son”;
  16. Johnny Cash, “Drive On” (Vietnam War veterans);
  17. Willie Nelson, “Jimmy’s Road” (Vietnam War);
  18. Bruce Springsteen, “Devils and Dust” (Iraq and Afghanistan);
  19. Emily Kaitz, “It’s Not Enough to Give Our Love” (general);
  20. Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the USA” (Vietnam veterans).

And here are readings of war poems from Aeschylus to the present (texts in attached pdf):


Readings of War Poems:
(1) passage from Aeschylus’ “Agamemnon” (5th c. BCE);
(2) Yehuda Amichai, “The Diameter of the Bomb” (Israel);
(3) Walt Whitman, “I Saw the Vision of Armies” (Civil War);
(4) Ernest Hemingway, “A Farewell to Arms” (WW I);
(5) Wilfred Owen, “Dulce Et Decorum Est” (WW I);
(6) e.e. cummings, “my sweet old etcetera” (WW I);
(7-8) Robert Graves, “I Hate the Moon” (WW I), “A Dead Boche” (WW I);
(9-12) Siegfried Sassoon, “The Kiss”‘ (WW I), “The Hero” (WW I), “Enemies” (WW I), “The Tombstone Maker” (WW I);
(13) Randall Jarrell, “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” (WW II);
(14) Denise Levertov, “What Were They Like?” (Vietnam War);
(15) Allen Ginsberg, “A Vow” (Vietnam War 1966);
(17) Yusef Komunyakaa,”Facing It” (Vietnam War veteran 1988)

Bob Dylan – Our Homer
Recording Date 2010-05-05


This is a studio version of the lecture and the music for the Poetry on the Plaza presentation that I gave on March 1, 2006 at the Humanities Research Center (HRC = Harry Ransom Center, too). It had the title “Bob Dylan: Our Homer”.

I discussed and illustrated in recordings, as I repeat here with clear audio, the art of Bob Dylan as an oral poet and songster.

This covers his career from the very early 1960’s until 2006.

Dylan and his music are parts of a rich tradition going back to Homer and in the modern period reaching back to the 17th century in folk ballads.

Here I selectively play and discuss mainly live concert recordings and the recordings of singers (Martin Carthy, Charlie Patton, the Stanley Brothers, all the way to Warren Zevon) who inspired Dylan’s own songs or were singled out by Dylan himself in his concerts as special.

I hope you enjoy these masterworks and my commentary on them.

On December 1, 2010, I will give a second Poetry on the Plaza on Bob Dylan.

The topic will be “Harmonica Bob: The Ineffable Poetry of Bob Dylan.”

In it, I will discuss Dylan’s use of harmonica (an instrument that is very important in folk and blues traditions) in order to express meanings and feelings that cannot be said or to emphasize or create a tone for what has been said in sung words.

Dylan Song Poems 1963 through 2009
Recording Date 2010-05-14


Bob Dylan has been ‘accused’ of abandoning concerns about the ills and problems of society when he made the shift around 1965 from the traditional folk music scene to writing and performing his own at times deeply personal music.

There is also a controversy over whether Dylan’s lyrics can stand alone on their own as poetry.

Here I read the lyrics of selected Dylan songs from 1963 right up to the present. I provide minimal commentary aimed a contextualizing more than advancing any arguments.

These song poems include: “Ballad of Hollis Brown,” “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine,” “Señor,” “Blind Willie McTell,” “Foot of Pride,” “What Was It You Wanted,” “Love Henry,” “Not Dark Yet,” “Mississippi,” “Ain’t Talkin’,” and “Forgetful Heart.”

All of them reflect Dylan’s continuing and keen interest in the human condition, the human spirit and the human heart.

Dylanological works by Tom Palaima:


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