Singer Bob Dylan made honorary member of U.S. arts academy

Thu May 16, 2013 2:46pm EDT
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Singer Bob Dylan was made an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, joining the ranks of leading writers, composers and artists in the prestigious 115-year-old group.

Henry Cobb, the president of the academy, said honorary members are people of great distinction in the creative arts.

"For more than 50 years, defying categorization in a culture beguiled by categories, Bob Dylan has probed and prodded our psyches, recording and then changing our world and our lives through poetry made manifest in song - creating relationships that we never imagined could exist between words, emotions and ideas," the citation said.

The singer/songwriter did not attend Wednesday's ceremony in Manhattan, where Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon gave the keynote address and cited Dylan's lyrics, and actress Meryl Streep, another honorary member, presented an award.

But he sent his regrets in a statement.

"I feel extremely honored and very lucky to be included in this pantheon of great individual artists who comprise the Academy of Arts and Letters. I look forward to meeting all of you some time soon," he said.

Virginia Dejani, the executive director of the academy, said Dylan's induction was decided by a vote of the membership, which totals 250.

"He was on a ballot with other names and he won handily," she said in an interview.

Dejani said that he was made an honorary member because the Academy failed to decide which department - art, literature or music - he would fit into. The rules of the academy limit honorary membership to 15 Americans, she added.   Continued...

 
Musician Bob Dylan (C) waits prior to receiving a Presidential Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House in Washington, May 29, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque