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Dylan Day at A-State’s Delta Symposium is Saturday, April 16


JONESBORO – For the second year, Arkansas State University’s Delta Blues Symposium will include a Bob Dylan Day, Saturday, April 16. Several academic scholars from throughout the United States will come to A-State to focus on Bob Dylan’s life, history and artistry.

This year A-State’s Delta Symposium XXII presents as its theme, "Representing Cultural Heritage"; the Arkansas and Mississippi Deltas richly represent that theme, as do many of the works of Bob Dylan. The symposium is sponsored by the Department of English, Philosophy and World Languages.

Called by some literary critics the greatest American poet of the second half of the 20th Century, Dylan has been the subject of more than 900 books, according to Dylan scholar Michael Gray. In his mid-70s, Bob Dylan continues his "Never Ending Tour" into the 21st century with his creative powers intact. In more than 50 years, Dylan has produced an immense body of work totaling 1,000 songs and more than 60 albums including the 2012 "Tempest," last year’s "Shadows in the Night," and the new album to be released May 20 of this year, "Fallen Angels."

Three presenters are included for the Saturday morning session from 8:30-10:45 beginning with   Cameron Artigue of Phoenix. That presentation is titled “Visions of Johanna: New Research on Inspirations & Sources."

Professor Emeritus Jim Baird of the University of North Texas will present “Hide in Plain Sight: The Understandable Lyrics of Bob Dylan & their Philosophical Underpinnings.”  Alan Brown of the University of West Alabama will present “Death in the Air: Bob Dylan’s Murder Ballads.”

The 11-12:30 session will begin with Dr. Nina Goss  from the University of Washington and Brooklyn, N.Y., who will explore “Love and the Black Hat: The Long Work of Aging in the Self Portraiture of Rembrandt van Rijn and Bob Dylan.”  Goss is the editor of Montague Street, the only literary magazine in the country devoted exclusively to Dylan scholarship.

A-State English Professor Frances Hunter will explore Dylan’s Jewish heritage as it relates to his 1983 album, "Infidels."  Her presentation is titled “Prophets, Psalmists, and Infidels.” Dr. Hunter teaches an American literature elective course in Bob Dylan’s poetry.  Her analysis of Dylan’s "Tempest" appears in Dylan Disc by Disc, published in 2015 by Voyageur Press of Minneapolis.

The session will end with a presentation by two A-State students, Samuel Jackson and Margaret Atkinson, on “Blues Theory or How to Play the Blues.”

This year’s symposium will conclude Saturday with an Arkansas Roots Musical Festival hosted by KASU’s Michael Doyle, station manager, from 12-5 p.m. at City Water and Light Park, Culberhouse and Cherry Streets in Jonesboro.  The five one-hour concerts include groups such as Runaway Planet and The Salty Dogs.

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