Friday, September 28, 2007

An American poet from the Twentieth Century - in Italy

On a weekend pass to Palermo, capital of Sicily and the most exciting city I’ve experienced for many years, I picked up a copy of Paolo Vites’ beautifully designed book, Bob Dylan 1962-2002: 40 anni di canzoni (Editori Reuniti, 2003, 382pp, pbk). At the very least, it’ll encourage me to persevere with trying to learn Italian (again).

I also bought the Bob Dylan volume, also published by Editori Reuniti, in its Legends/Songwriters collection (2005, 127pp, pbk). It’s another fine production, in a splendid pocket-sized collection.

My third treasured buy was the Italian version of the first Dylan lyrics book - Bob Dylan: Blues, ballate e canzoni (Newton Compton, 2005, 304pp, pbk). It’ll be a handy language learning aid, as it reproduces the English lyrics opposite the Italian translations.

The readily available Dylan product and knowledgeable staff in Palermo’s fine bookshops weren’t matched among the shady signori flogging dodgy pirate CDs on the lively backstreet market stalls – none had any Bob product and a couple of chaps who looked as if they might have been bussed in for the day from Corleone hadn’t even heard of “Bob Dylan”, offering me Bob Marley product instead!

Gerry Smith