Photos: Leonard Cohen & Friends On Picnic c. 1970 + Leonard Cohen’s Inscription-Poem “For Sharon”

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Here’s how this went down. I came across an AbeBooks ad for The Favourite Game, which I’ve excerpted here (bolding mine):

Secker & Warburg. 1963. 8vo. Original cloth and dustwrapper; pp. 222; some spotting to top edge, bump to bottom edge, rubbed corners, wrapper is age-toned with some scuffing, ottherwise very good. Provenance: with original poem in Cohen’s handwriting to ffep, with ownership inscription of Sharon Brown. The three-verse is inscribed “For Sharon” and shares a tone of romantic regret with famous lyrics such as “Bird on a wire”: “leaving me a leaf of hair to plant in the corner of my sleep/and a car ride through the highways ruins taking an old fresh field with me, like a scrap of paper caught on the aerial/ and delivering me to where I began, waiting for the harvest with fish nets and spider webs and empty pockets white and proud as sails.” First edition of Cohen’s first novel. Originally twice the length and entitled Beauty at Close Quarters, the book was rejected by Cohen’s Canadian publishers and was first published in London in its present form four years after he wrote it. sold with The Spice-Box of Earth. Toronto/Montreal: McClelland and Stewart,1961. 8vo. Stiff paper wraps; pp. 88; some scuffing to extremities, a few creases to covers, ink spot to top edges, binding very tight, very good. Provenance: ffep.1 signed and inscribed by Cohen “To Sharon”, and with ownership signature of Sharon Brown. First edition. Cohen’s second book of poetry was greeted enthusiastically, with the critic Robert Weaver proclaiming him ‘probably the best young poet in English Canada right now’. also with Four different photographic images, plus an image of 10 negatives: some multiples, printed in different exposures and crops, for a total of 11 sheets. These show Cohen, playing guitar, singing, mid-conversation, and with friends. These photos are apparently unpublished and are very informal and relaxed. They appear to be from a slightly later period than the books, circa 1970. Nothing is known about Sharon Brown, but it is natural to conjecture that this collection is the memento mori of an affair with the notoriously philandering poet and songwriter. Perhaps one of the women in the photographs is Sharon herself. Cohen left a long string of broken hearts behind him, and the poem in The Favourite Game certainly has the air of a thinly veiled goodbye. He was also famously tight-lipped about the many women in his life. As he once said: “I never discuss my mistresses or my tailors.”.

The name “Sharon Brown” seemed somehow familiar. Checking my archives, I came across a post I published Aug 3, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com (and which I just today put online at Cohencentric: Leonard Cohen – Hero To Those Under 25 In 1968) that featured “Cohen Becomes Hero” by Sharon Brown, from the January 14, 1968 Chevron (the official newspaper published by the Federation of Students at the University of Waterloo)..

Now, I have not discovered hard evidence that the Sharon Brown who wrote that article about Leonard Cohen is the same Sharon Brown who owned this book and to whom “For Sharon” is addressed. I do, however, find it believable that an adoring University of Waterloo undergrad so enamored of Leonard Cohen that she describes him as “he’s beautiful, for one thing, and he projects himself in a very intimate way” somehow connected with her “hero’ and that he reciprocated with those notes found in her copy of The Favourite Game.

I sent my speculations about Sharon Brown to AbeBooks and soon received a response from Chris Saunders of Henry Sotheran Ltd., who sent me the photos described and permission to post them along with the “For Sharon” inscription by Leonard Cohen.

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  1. fftp is the abbreviation for Front Free EndPaper. Generally, it is the first page of a book and is part of a single sheet that also spans across the inside of the front board (called the front pastedown) via a fold along the gutter with the purpose of connecting the boards to the stitched textblock []

“Cohen’s career now enters its fourth phase, After the End” + Photos Of Leonard Cohen At Home

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Leonard Cohen At Home: Photos By Henry Diltz

These photos taken of Leonard Cohen at his Los Angles home by Henry Diltz are offered on the occasion of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s birthday by Harvey Kubernik, author of Leonard Cohen Everybody Knows (more information about this volume in the final section of this post).

After the End By Dr James Cushing

Included in Leonard Cohen: Agency of Yes by Harvey Kubernik © 2017, a “multi-voice narrative memoir tribute to Cohen,” are observations by Dr James Cushing of the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo English and Literature department that I find especially insightful:

In 2016, those of us lucky enough to have seen Cohen in concert became even luckier, but sadder, as lucky people often are. It was a dark year, filled with farewells. Leonard Cohen’s exit was neither the most shocking nor the most painful. His body was old and full of days. His songs had long been varying the theme of Farewell, and in his last tours, every concert felt like a valediction. But in 2017, his absence (for me, anyway) has become an empty space as large as the ones Bowie or Prince left behind. You Want It Darker, which illuminates that empty space, is actually much in the same spirit of Bowie’s Blackstar: a sublime farewell, but from a different tradition. Only Cohen could fuse an authentic Jewish melancholy with the elaborate merriment of European art-song and the ghost-whisper cleanliness of digital synthesizers. Cohen’s career now enters its fourth phase, After the End — the phase that Cohen’s colleagues Allen Ginsberg, Irving Layton, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin have been in for decades. Is there “previously unreleased material,” written, recorded, and/or filmed? Let us hope so. Let us also hope that university literature departments will devote more attention to Cohen’s poems and novels especially 1966’s Beautiful Losers. For me, this lyrical dream-novel of friendship and loss outdoes Kerouac’s On the Road for its joy, compassion, and vivid sense of the sacred.

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Leonard Cohen’s Status Report (Sept 2016): “A little too weak to get out there and boogie, and a little too healthy to die. Work is not always sweet, but it’s always sustaining.”

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dakeerphotoFrom Leonard Cohen’s Third Act by Brian D. Johnson (Maclean’s: Sept 21, 2016). Photo by Adam Cohen.

Best Videos Of 2012 Leonard Cohen Tour: Save The Last Dance For Me – Ghent

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saveJust don’t forget who’s taking you home
And in whose arms you’re gonna be
So, darlin’
Save the last dance for me

Leonard Cohen – Save The Last Dance For Me
Ghent: Aug 12, 2012
Video by

Best 2012 Leonard Cohen Videos: Cohencentric.com features selections from the Best Of 2012 Leonard Cohen Tour Video Setlist, which comprises the best available video of each of the songs performed during the 2012 Leonard Cohen World Tour.

Read, Download First We Take The Main: A Tour Of Leonard Cohen’s Montreal By Christine Langlois – Reader’s Digest: October 2009

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cohenmontreal-11

Download Your Own Copy of First We Take the Main

Christine Langlois has made her article, First We Take the Main: A tour of Leonard Cohen’s Montreal through the eyes of his lifelong friend [Mort Rosengarten] (Reader’s Digest: October 2009), available in PDF format. I’ve posted the first page above as a sample. The entire article can be read and downloaded at this link: First We Take The Main

More About Leonard Cohen’s Montreal

The best articles about Leonard Cohen’s Montreal homes and haunts as well as videos and a list of pertinent landmarks can be found at Resources: Leonard Cohen’s Montreal.

Leonard Cohen, “A Mind-Opener For The Young,” Photographed By Irving Penn: Vogue, August 1969

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The Irving Penn photo of Leonard Cohen in his leather jacket that appeared in the August 1969 Vogue is an arresting perspective on the Canadian singer-songwriter. It is also of interest because it is part of a relatively short series of close-up portraits by Penn that cut his subjects’ heads off at the forehead – a cropping not seen in the great majority of his work. (A similarly configured 1965 Irving Penn photo of Truman Capote can be viewed at Truman Capote, New York | The Art Institute of Chicago)

The Vogue article itself, “People Are Talking About,” begins “Leonard Cohen, over thirty, is a mind-opener for the young” and includes Cohen’s refusal of the Governor General’s Award for his winning collection, Selected Poems 1956-1968, his surprise about the popularity of songs like Suzanne among the young, and the importance of his identity as a Canadian.

The photo is also featured in “Happy 81st Birthday, Leonard Cohen!” by Julia Felsenthal (Vogue: Sept 21, 2015) See Recommended Reading: Vogue’s Leonard Cohen 81st Birthday Tribute By Julia Felsenthal

Note: Much of this material, other than the reference to the 2015 article, was originally posted Aug 29, 2014, at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s Birthday Commemoration By Michael de Adder

Leonard Cohen – Hero To Those Under 25 In 1968

Leonard Cohen: Novelist, poet, singer and, if you are under 25, hero.

I like all the wrong  things about “Cohen Becomes Hero” by Sharon Brown, published in the January 14, 1968 Chevron, the official newspaper published by the Federation of Students at the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario). I like the ardent tone in which pronouncements are made in lieu of factual support, I like the the writer referring to Leonard Cohen as “Leonard,” I like that Leonard Cohen is characterized as being “different from any other hero” because “he’s beautiful, for one thing, and he projects himself in a very intimate way.”  Heck, I even like the typo: “his singing … is often simply a momotone.” [emphasis mine]

Regardless, as a Lenny-come-lately who didn’t recognize the qualities of and value afforded by the Canadian singer-songwriter until I was in my mid-fifties, I found it intriguing to read what someone in my cohort1 who proved a much more accurate prognosticator than I, and I thought others might find it interesting as well.

Update: Is this the same Sharon Brown? Photos: Leonard Cohen & Friends On Picnic c. 1970 + Leonard Cohen’s Inscription-Poem “For Sharon”

Note: Leonard Cohen’s role in the movie to which the article refers, The Ernie Game, was featured in the post, Leonard Cohen In 1967 Movie – The Ernie Game.

Note: Originally posted Aug 3, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. In 1968, when this article was written, I was a freshman at Oklahoma Christian College, which was, serendipitously, where I first  heard “Suzanne” playing on a roommate’s tape deck. I didn’t care for it. []

Hommage Leonard Cohen – Lanuza 2017

Albert Manzano organized the July 14, 2017 Leonard Cohen tribute in Lanuza, Spain. Among the participants was Alex Bublitchi (on viewer’s far left in below photo), Leonard Cohen’s violinist during the 2012 and 2013 tours.

Left to right: Alex Bublitchi, Rocio Segura, Carlos Rodenas, Francisco Rubio, Jordi Rallo, Paula Dominguez, Javier Malaguilla

Photos by Raùl Tomás. Thanks to Laurence of Paris, who contributed the photos and information.

The Scorpion & The Camel: Leonard Cohen’s Story Of The Middle East

quoteup2
Well, I’m gonna tell you a little story I just heard. There was this scorpion that was trying to get across the stream. He was too small to get across and he came to a camel and said ‘Will you carry me across the stream?’ The camel said, ‘Of course I’m not going to carry you across the stream. You’re a scorpion and you’re gonna sting me.’ Well, after many hours of persuasion, the camel was finally convinced to take the scorpion across the stream. Midway across the stream, the scorpion stung the camel. They’re both going down. They’re both being swept away and the camel says, ‘Why did you sting me?’ and the scorpion says, ‘Because this is the Middle East.’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen – from “Songs and Thoughts of Leonard Cohen” by Robert O’Brian (RockBill, September 1987). Map By TownDown – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia Commons. Originally posted September 20, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric