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Bob Dylan Described Growing Up In Northern MN in 1962 Short Poem

(Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Bob Dylan doesn’t talk about his childhood much.  In fact if you look for it, you won’t find too much, except for a short poem from 1962 called “My Life In A Stolen Moment.”  With the excitement of Dylan coming to Duluth, where he was born, I wanted to find some truth in his own words of his complicated relationship with Northern MN.

Here’s a few excerpts from the poem:

Duluth’s an iron ore shipping town in Minnesota
It’s built up on a rocky cliff that runs into Lake Superior
I was born there — my father was born there –
My mother’s from the Iron Range Country up north
The Iron Range is a long line a mining towns
that begin at Grand Rapids and end at Eveleth
We moved up there to live with my mother’s folks
in Hibbing when I was young –
Hibbing’s got the biggest open pit ore mine in the world
Hibbing’s got schools, churches, grocery stores an’ a jail
It’s got high school football games an’ a movie house
Hibbing’s got souped-up cars runnin’ full blast
on a Friday night
Hibbing’s got corner bars with polka bands
You can stand at one end of Hibbing’s main drag
an’ see clear past the city limits on the other end
Hibbing’s a good ol’ town
I ran away from it when I was 10, 12, 13, 15, 151/2, 17 an’ 18
I been caught an’ brought back all but once

And then later, to end the poem he repeats the line again:

Hibbing’s a good ol’ town
I ran away from it when I was 10, 12, 13, 15, 151/2, 17 an’ 18
I been caught an’ brought back all but once.

Dylan also had an inteview with Playboy in 1996, where he was a little more positive about Minnesota, and just said it was a time to move on:

DYLAN: I had some amazing projections when I was a kid, but not since then. And those visions have been strong enough to keep me going through today.

PLAYBOY: What were those visions like?

DYLAN: They were a feeling of wonder. I projected myself toward what I might personally, humanly do in terms of creating any kinds of reality. I was born in, grew up in a place so foreign that you had to be there to picture it.

PLAYBOY: Are you talking about Hibbing, Minnesota?

DYLAN: It was all in upper Minnesota.

PLAYBOY: What was the quality of those visionary experiences?

DYLAN: Well, in the winter, everything was still, nothing moved. Eight months of that. You can put it together. You can have some amazing hallucinogenic experiences doing nothing but looking out your window. There is also the summer, when it gets hot and sticky and the air is very metallic. There is a lot of Indian spirit. The earth there is unusual, filled with ore. So there is something happening that is hard to define. There is a magnetic attraction there. Maybe thousands and thousands of years ago, some planet bumped into the land there. There is a great spiritual quality throughout the Midwest. Very subtle, very strong, and that is where I grew up. New York was a dream.

PLAYBOY: Why did you leave Minnesota?

DYLAN: Well, there comes a time for all things to pass.

 

Many people don’t realize that Dylan has played here before.  Last was in Bayfront in 1999, when he said, “I was born over the hill over there, glad to see it’s still there.”

People went nuts, and still use that quote today.  We’ll see if he has any new ones July 9th.

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