06 Jun 2017 18:39 IST

Bob Dylan delivers his Nobel Lecture

"But songs are unlike literature. They’re meant to be sung, not read"

Nobel prizewinner Bob Dylan said on Monday that unlike literature, his songs were meant to be sung, not read, and that they only needed to move people, not to make sense.

The Swedish Academy's decision to award last year's prize for literature to Dylan, who had "created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition", was seen by some as a slap in the face by some mainstream writers of poetry and prose.

In his Nobel lecture, the notoriously media-shy Dylan said: "Our songs are alive in the land of the living. But songs are unlike literature. They’re meant to be sung, not read."

"If a song moves you, that’s all that’s important. I don’t have to know what a song means. I’ve written all kinds of things into my songs. And I’m not going to worry about it — what it all means," he said in the speech posted on the Academy's website.

Dylan, the first singer-songwriter to win the prize, was silent about the award for weeks after it was announced and he did not attend the prize ceremony. Instead, then US ambassador to Sweden Azita Raji read his thank-you speech at the banquet.

Dylan finally delivered his Nobel Lecture to the Swedish Academy in the form of an audio file on Monday. He was required by laureates to give a lecture no later than June 10 to collect the $900,000 or so in prize money. The speech does not necessarily have to be delivered in Stockholm.

Published as an audio file, with a text transcript on the Academy’s website, the lecture starts: “When I first received this Nobel Prize for Literature, I got to wondering exactly how my songs related to literature. I wanted to reflect on it and see where the connection was. I’m going to try to articulate that to you. And most likely it will go in a roundabout way, but I hope what I say will be worthwhile and purposeful.”

The Swedish Academy’s permanent secretary Sara Danius said in a statement published on the Academy’s website that “The speech is extraordinary and, as one might expect, eloquent. Now that the Lecture has been delivered, the Dylan adventure is coming to a close.” Danius also thanked Dylan and his staff “for having cooperated so beautifully.”

Read his lecture here . Or watch it below.