CHESTERTOWN, MD— From the moment he first exploded onto the American music scene in 1963, Bob Dylan has been lauded as a poet, a prophet, and a savior. In a talk at Washington College on Monday, March 5, acclaimed poet and biographer Daniel Mark Epstein will offer an intimate, nuanced look at this legendary singer-songwriter, the most important lyricist America has ever produced.
Sponsored by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, Epstein’s talk, “The Ballad of Bob Dylan,” is free and open to the public, and will begin at 7:30 pm at Center Stage, Hodson Commons (popularly known as The Egg), on the College campus, 300 Washington Avenue. Epstein’s recent book The Ballad of Bob Dylan (Harper, 2011) will be available for purchase, and a book signing will follow the presentation.
In his talk, Epstein will frame Dylan against the background of four seminal concerts performed over four decades and will explore the larger context of the artist’s life, from his meteoric rise as a young folksinger through his reemergence in the 1990s and his role as the éminence grise of rock and roll today. “We all know Dylan was a master wordsmith,” says Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the Starr Center. “But so is Daniel Mark Epstein, so this is guaranteed to be a memorable evening.”
The New York Journal of Books praised The Ballad of Bob Dylan for doing “what few have been able to at all, much less this well: capture [Dylan’s] spirit and somehow get closer to the essence of an American icon.” The Sunday Times (London) concurred, noting that “Epstein is refreshingly direct and accessible,” and the Telegraph lauded the book for its “fine sensitivity to all aspects of Dylan’s art.”
Daniel Mark Epstein's poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, and The New Republic. He is the author of three plays and more than a dozen books, including Lincoln and Whitman: Parallel Lives in Civil War Washington (Random House, 2004), and The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage (Ballantine), which was named one of the Best Books of 2008 by both the Wall Street Journal and the Chicago Sun-Times. His 1999 biography of another musical legend, Nat King Cole (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), was a New York Times Notable Book.
A graduate of Kenyon College, Epstein has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2006.
* * *
Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in colonial Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience is dedicated to fostering innovative approaches to the American past and present. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and a special focus on the literary craft of history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large. For more information on the Center, visit http://starrcenter.washcoll.edu.