Dr. Yoder
English 4150/425.01     Bob Dylan: Lyric Poetry
Fall 2009     TTh 12:15-1:30pm     Stabler Hall 401

Office: Stabler Hall 501V     Office Hrs.: TTh 9:00-10:00am; W 4:00-5:00pm; also by appt.
Office Phone: 569-8321        email: rpyoder@ualr.edu       webpage: www.ualr.edu/rpyoder


Dylan, Bob. Bob Dylan: Lyrics 1962-2001 (Simon & Schuster, 2004; ISBN 0-7432-282708)

Other Resources:
Doc Yoder's Dylan Discography: Compiled into a convenient list from BobDylan.com.
Annotated Bob Dylan: Not great, but about the best you can do online.


  1. The primary goal of this class is to come to some sort of terms with Bob Dylan. We shall listen to songs and read and discuss lyrics to his songs.
  2. We will try to place Dylan's work into the cultural traditions (literary/songs/politics/religion) from which he draws.
  3. We will not try to strip Dylan's work of its essential strangeness, haunting beauty, or failure.
  4. We will explore the dynamics of Dylan's self-representation, as an original artist, but also in the implicit autobiography of the songs he chooses to cover.
  5. We will consider how Dylan has responded to American culture and history, and how they have responded to him.
  6. We will necessarily have to stretch our understanding of how meaning is made.
  7. We will find out what price you have to pay to get out of going through all these things twice.


  1. Students will read and discuss a lot of song lyrics and interviews by Bob Dylan.
  2. Students will write weekly informal journals about the readings and class discussions.
  3. Students will each choose an album by Dylan for which he or she will be the "expert" during the discussion.
  4. Students will write more formal papers about Dylan's work.
  5. Students will generate playlists that demonstrate ideas about Dylan's themes and / or influences.
  6. Students will build a fire on Main Street and shoot it full of holes.

Course Assessment:
This course will include an ongoing assessment of my teaching in the form of weekly
journals. These journals consist of a 250 word (minimum requirement) written response to the
class readings or discussion. These journals allow me to assess how well students are
understanding what I think I am teaching them, and I make adjustments to my class
presentations and assignments accordingly. Taken as a whole, the journals count for 20% of
the student's final grade, thus insuring that the students take this assessment seriously.
The journals also serve other classroom purposes outlined on the "House Rules" page.

Secondary Education Assessement:
See "For Secondary Education Majors" page.

Reading Schedule
House Rules
For Secondary Education Minors
Course Listserve
Paper Assignments
Tips for Writers
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