Of his ability as a poet, however, there can be no reasonable doubt“:

hitchens is always SO way out of his depth talking abt matters popcult that i kind of assumed he just didn’t like rock (or any music at all, come to that) – which is no sin obv

anyway, turns out he’s is a v.old 60s-model dylan fan, and here he suckers himself into the ultimate pompous-loser discussion topic: is zimmy a real actual bard?

i won’t say it wins PRIZES for missing the point (certainly far worse dylanology – and indeed poetcrit – has been committed), but it DOES miss the point (right back at the line where he tumbles to the bogus (in pop) antithesis of “put-on” vs “material worthy of examination”)… PLUS also given that CH is actually pretty good at charting the turbulent subcurrents of the middlebrow, why’s he just so tepidly fulsome here? yeah larkin’s a poet, so what? the question to be usefully explored [sorry no link: the larkin piece wz in new left review years ago] is “is being a poet such a good thing anyway?” [he concluded YES bcz he’s a suck-up pussy bit of a cultural reactionary, but the point wz he knew it MATTERED to ask] plus ALSO plus ALSO, the unbearable archness of being “pop-savvy” again