Leonard Cohen Identifies “Valentina” As Suzanne Elrod

bookcdPhoto By Valentina

A photo by Suzanne Elrod was used as cover art for Leonard Cohen: Live Songs. Dominique BOILE noticed that the same Leonard Cohen photo was also found on the back cover of the 1974 edition of The Energy Of Slaves but was credited differently.

Energy Of Slaves
The book’s photo is credited to “Valentina.”

Valentina or Suzanne00011200Leonard Cohen: Live Songs
The same photo on the album is credited to “S.B. Elrod.”1

Valentina or Suzanne0003While Dominique’s presumptive explanation was that the same photographer was credited under different names, he contacted Leonard Cohen for clarification and received this reply:

Suzanne Valentina Elrod
Same person
Be well
Love

L

Leonard Cohen & Suzanne Elrod

Leonard Cohen met Suzanne Elrod,2 an artist who was then 19 (15 years his junior), in 19683 at New York’s Plaza Hotel where Cohen was attending a Scientology class and Elrod was living with the support of a businessman. She soon moved into his apartment at the Chelsea Hotel. Two children, Adam (born 1972) and Lorca (born in 1974) followed in short order. Never married, Elrod and Cohen ended their relationship in the late 1970s. Following the separation, Elrod moved Adam and Lorca to several locations, including the south of France, New York, and Paris.

Suzanne Elrod with Lorca & Adam Cohen

Suzanne Elrod with Lorca & Adam Cohen

Suzanne Val Elrod

In retrospect, it is simple enough to find several references to “Suzanne Val Elrod,” including the legend for this photo posted at Adam Cohen Facebook Page:

adamplusmother, father, grandmother, 1972, montreal. — with Adam Cohen, Suzanne Val Elrod and Leonard Cohen.

Suzanne Elrod’s twitter account, in fact, is Suzanne Val Elrod.

And, although Google finds no matches to “Suzanne Valentina Elrod,” the leap from “Val” to “Valentina” is a short one.

Valentina Gave Me Four Months

This identification illuminates the eponymous subject of “Valentina gave me four months,” a poem from The Energy of Slaves (Note: Hear Leonard Cohen recite this and other poems at Leonard Cohen On Sighting The Perfect Ass & Other Poems):4

Valentina gave me four months
of her twentieth year and then returned to a rich man
who lived in the Plaza Hotel

She watched television all day long
and she never told me a lie
I loved to creep up behind her
when she was engrossed in Star Trek
and kiss her little ass-hole

It was a happy hotel room at the Chelsea
We never let anyone come over
(I do not think she minded my pranks)

Credit Due Department: The photo of Suzanne Elrod with Lorca & Adam Cohen is a screenshot from Harry Rasky’s film, “The Song of Leonard Cohen.”

_____________________

  1. It seems likely that the “B” was a typo resulting from a misheard “V.” []
  2. Suzanne Elrod is not the Suzanne who “feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China” in the Leonard Cohen song by the same name. The Suzanne described in the song is Suzanne Verdal, []
  3. Or 1969; accounts vary []
  4. Given Leonard Cohen ‘s pronouncement, “God, whenever I see her [Suzanne Elrod’s] ass, I forget every pain that’s gone between us” (Source: Leonard Cohen Says That to All the Girls by Barbara Amiel. Maclean’s: Sept 18, 1978.), it seems a good bet that the titular perfect ass in “It was only when you walked away I saw you had the perfect ass,” another poem in The Energy of Slaves, was Ms Elrod’s. []

4 thoughts on “Leonard Cohen Identifies “Valentina” As Suzanne Elrod

  1. Ali Andreae Wagemaker

    Leven is niet eenvoudig. Ik heb ook een scheiding meegemaakt, niet als jij, mijn ex, al lang overleden gebruikte mij “het eens favoriete meisje op school”. Dankzij mij kwam hij verder, daartoe moest hij mij onderdrukken. Ik werd wakker geschud, dankzij zijn therapeut. Tien jaar later kwam ik dezelfde therapeut tegen en hij werd mijn maatje, die 11 januari 2015 overleden is.
    It is not easy to wiel it stro the night.

  2. Ali Andreae Wagemaker

    de laatste periode heb ik veel geluisterd “Popular Problems” Niek was mijn maatje en niet mijn minnaar (lang verhaal) Ons samen zijn was harmonieus
    Na alle drukte van zijn ziekte en vooral zijn sterven, zonder voldoende mijn verdriet te zien. Ik begreep hem zo goed, dat ik hem het sterven gemakkelijker wilde maken
    That was what I ment with, the burden to wheel it through the night.

  3. Ali Andreae Wagemaker

    de laatste periode heb ik veel geluisterd “Popular Problems” Niek was mijn maatje en niet mijn minnaar (lang verhaal) Ons samen zijn was harmonieus
    Na alle drukte van zijn ziekte en vooral zijn sterven, zonder voldoende mijn verdriet te zien. Ik begreep hem zo goed, dat ik hem het sterven gemakkelijker wilde maken
    That was what I ment with, the burden to wheel it through the night.