Ian McMillan


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Is Bob Dylan a poet? We ask Ian McMillan, one of the UK’s best. Ian compares Bob to Dylan Thomas, both of them “great poets who can rub vowels against consonants and make a kind of smoke come out of them… a kind of music.” “Meaning doesn’t matter”, he says. “The basis of poetry is being able to mint a phrase like “Lay, lady, lay”. I was so excited when Dylan won the Nobel Prize. Dylan’s stuff will last forever”.

Yorkshire-born Ian recalls arguing with his Andy Stewart-loving Scottish father about the merits of Lay Lady Lay, over the washing up. How he was so moved hearing Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands that he wrote a poem about it. Other topics include in-depth dissections of One More Cup Of Coffee and Subterranean Homesick Blues, Paul Simon and John Cheever’s short fiction, Dylan’s Tarantula and Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street. Join us for a free-flowing episode with plenty of literary smoke.

Ian McMillan is a poet, journalist and broadcaster. He presents poetry programme The Verb on BBC Radio 3 and is a regular on BBC Breakfast, Pick of the Week, You & Yours, Last Word and The Arts Show. He’s been a castaway on Desert Island Discs (where he famously chose John Cage’s 4'33"). His television work also includes The Review Show and Have I Got News For You. He has written many volumes of poetry, in addition to his verse autobiography Talking Myself Home. Ian was resident poet for the English National Opera, was Yorkshire TV’s Investigative Poet and Humberside Police’s Beat Poet.



Twitter: @IMcMillan

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Recorded 6th September 2019

This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.

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