Killer germs, superbugs and pestilential plagues have long fascinated writers and musicians. Join a cast of actors, scientists and literary researchers for an inventive illustration of infectious extracts from plays and music, past and present. Be sure to bring your antiseptic wipes.
In 2004 Newsweek magazine described Bob Dylan as the “the most influential cultural figure now alive”. Few would doubt his immense influence on the popular song, but the question of whether he qualifies as a poet has raged on throughout his career. Christopher Ricks, the erstwhile Regius professor of poetry at Oxford, and Frank Kermode, the Cambridge literary critic, championed the cause since the 1960s, comparing Dylan with Milton, Keats Wordsworth and Tennyson. Bob Dylan, as one would expect, gave many different answers to the question. In a famous response in 1965, Dylan said he thought of himself ‘more as a song and dance man’. In a motel room in Denver, Dylan told Robert Shelton ‘Hey I would love to say I am a poet. I would really like to think of myself as a poet, but I just can’t because of all the slobs who are called poets.’ Leonard Cohen a long-time admirer of Dylan, describing him as the Picasso of song, commented that poetry as a verdict and not a self-ascription. In ‘I Shall be Free No. 10’, Dylan mockingly sings: ‘Yippie. I’m a poet, and I know it. Hope I don’t blow it’.