Above: Robert Zimmerman (aka Bob Dylan) in the 1959 Hibbing High School year book.
How does a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature get his start? If you’re Bob Dylan, by writing poetry in high school. So contends the Minnesota Historical Society, which has purchased some rudimentary Dylan poetry penned during his Hibbing High School days.
Dale Boutang, a high school pal of Dylan's, is the original source, though the two handwritten pages of poetry were bought via auction. They are probably from 1956. To verify his friendship with Dylan, Boutang provided a photo of him and Bob Zimmerman, Dylan's given name, on a motorcycle.
“The writing in these pages is fairly immature but you can already see his ballad style that will develop later,” Historical Society acquisitions librarian Patrick Coleman said in a statement. “It portends his future as a Nobel laureate.”
On a hand-printed piece labeled “Good Poem,” Zimmerman rhymes school with rule, sass with ass and pink with dink.
Zimmerman graduated from Hibbing High in 1959, changed his name to Bob Dylan and wrote quite a few songs that led to his receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016.
These new artifacts will be digitized and made available for viewing at mnhs.org. The poetry and photo of Zimmerman and Boutang will go on display beginning Feb. 13 at the Gale Family Library at the Minnesota History Center.