What did you do at camp, Bobby?

May 20, 2009

How does it feel, How does it feel,
To be on your own, with someone else’s poem?

I love this one. We did a story yesterday about Christie’s plans to auction a hand-written poem by a teenaged Bob Dylan. Christie’s said the poem was believed written in 1957 when Dylan, then still using the name Bobby Zimmerman, was at a summer camp in Wisconsin.

That would probably be very valuable, except somebody who read our story pointed out that the poem was actually a song called “Little Buddy,” written by the late Canadian country singer Hank Snow. The error was confirmed today by Christie’s, and we did another story.

Nobody alleges any chicanery on the part of Dylan, Christie’s or the seller, nor is anyone criticizing Hank Snow for writing the song years earlier, thus depriving a young Dylan of the words he no doubt would have gone on to write.

But what makes this story so special to me is that Christie’s barely missed a beat. While conceding the poem was “in fact a revised version of lyrics of a Hank Snow song,” they insisted today that the item “still remains among the earliest known handwritten lyrics of Bob Dylan…” and that they still plan to auction it.

There’s no word yet on whether the auction will include other early Zimmerman works such as “Hamlet,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” or that 1957 classic, “How I Spent my Summer Vacation.”

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Above: Bob Dylan in a 2006 file photo. REUTERS/Lee Celano

Below: Undated photo from Christie’s. REUTERS/Handout

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4 comments

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Holy mouth harp, Batman! This is an awesome story! Kudos to Reuters! Nice job, guys!

Bob, I wonder if you could throw a shopping list or two my way. If you let me hang on to them for 20 years, I’ll split the take with you.

Mr Bob,

When I was at the Boy Scout Camp in parts unmentioned as of right now, because I don’t want to divulge the exact location of the camp, I was treated to my first night ‘orientation,’ by the staff.

I was manning the nicely eqipped medical lounge for six weeks, as a ‘medic,’ on loan from the Navy.

All of the staff that were present on the night before camp opened were all young men (as in 16 through 19 years of age).

I was pulled over to the welcome lodge on that evening, and seated in the back of a room, amongst the staff.

The lights went down, and one of the filthiest X rated movies ever was started.

I was passed a bottle of whisky from one side, and a joint of some primo reefer from the other side.

This was my welcome to the summer camp for Boy Scouts.

I bet Dylan never had it so good during his camping years as a teen, eh?

And yes, I was rather shocked by the cavalier attitude of the young staff. But what was I to do? Call in the authorities and have camp shut down?

I left the welcome center quickly and I did serve my 6 weeks there, without ever running my mouth about the happenings there on the first night in camp.

However, my view of the Boy Scouts DID change rather abruptly.

Always Ready to Party!

Posted by tim | Report as abusive

I’ll bid $5.00 for the (ha-ha-poem).

This news is priceless!:)

What could be more valuable than Bob Dylan’s earliest known piece of PLAGIARISM? Oh, yeah. This story!

Posted by Anna | Report as abusive

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