“Let’s sing for nothing” Leonard Cohen’s Visitation Of Poetry – Previously Unlisted 1967 U Of Manitoba Appearance Reviewed

Published in the Winnipeg Free Press, January 14, 1967, A Visitation Of Poetry by Chester Duncan (Dept of English; University of Manitoba) – which reviews a Leonard Cohen 1967 U Of Manitoba appearance not listed in any Cohen database – begins on an auspicious note:

When Leonard Cohen appeared at the University of Manitoba recently to read and sing his poems, I felt that it was an occasion of great importance and significance.

He compares that appearance with one by Cohen three years earlier,1 describing Cohen, in the 1964 performance.

… charm[ing] and teas[ing] and whip[ping] a very large audience into a frenzy of approval and merriment

while the audience at the more recent appearance was

… fascinated like a snake before the concentration and dedication of his melancholy.

As the author concludes,

The poet has the  benefit of a life frequently distinguished by instincts completely non-utilitarian. And if even Love can make nothing happen, he must still “sing for nothing.”

The reference is to this Leonard Cohen poem from Parasites Of Heaven

Ah, what were the names I gave you
before I learned all names go the do-do way?
Darlin, Golden, Meadowheart

I’ve been walking in the far green
I’ve lost what all the leaves are called
Elm, Chestnut, Silver

O come here you, thou
Bring all thy, bring all thine
Far into the splinter let’s sing for nothing

Note: Originally posted July 12, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

  1. A poetry reading at Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – (University of Manitoba) dated only by month and year (Feb 1964) at CohenLive, which lists no Cohen appearances in Winnipeg in 1966 or 1967 []

Animated Video: A Kite Is A Victim By Leonard Cohen, Read by Paul Hecht

kite

In the animation [below],  from the NFB’s 1977 “Poets on Film No. 1,” Canadian actor Paul Hecht reads Cohen’s poem “A Kite is a Victim,” from his 1961 collection The Spice-Box of Earth… “A Kite is a Victim” is about process, but it’s a formal meditation, focused on the image of the kite, which flutters through each of the four stanzas in metaphors of taming, capturing and nurturing language, then letting it go, hoping to be made “worthy and lyric and pure.” The pace of Hecht’s reading, the piano score behind his voice, and the vibrant color of the hand-drawn animation makes this a very different experience of Cohen’s writing than “Poen.”

Excerpt from The Poetry of Leonard Cohen Illustrated by Two Short Films by Josh Jones (Open Culture: July 18th, 2013)

A Kite Is A Victim By Leonard Cohen
Read by Paul Hecht

 

The Articulate Silence Of Leonard Cohen: I Heard Of A Man …

firstbookposter-scaled500I Heard Of A Man …
By Leonard Cohen
From Let Us Compare Mythologies

I heard of a man
who says words so beautifully
that if he only speaks their name
women give themselves to him.

If I am dumb beside your body
while silence blossoms like tumors on our lips.
it is because I hear a man climb stairs and clear his throat outside the
   door.

Silence is a concept Leonard Cohen often addressed. The Articulate Silence Of Leonard Cohen is a collection of posts comprising the poems, songs, quotations, and other works by Cohen focusing on the absence of sound.

The Articulate Silence Of Leonard Cohen: Summer-Haiku

spice2Summer-Haiku
By Leonard Cohen
From The Spice-Box of Earth

Silence
and a deeper silence
when the crickets
hesitate

Silence is a concept Leonard Cohen often addressed. The Articulate Silence Of Leonard Cohen is a collection of posts comprising the poems, songs, quotations, and other works by Cohen focusing on the absence of sound.

The Articulate Silence Of Leonard Cohen: Gift

spicebox-bkGift
By Leonard Cohen
From The Spice-Box of Earth

You tell me that silence
is nearer to peace than poems
but if for my gift
I brought you silence
(for I know silence)
you would say
This is not silence
this is another poem
and you would hand it back to me.

Silence is a concept Leonard Cohen often addressed. The Articulate Silence Of Leonard Cohen is a collection of posts comprising the poems, songs, quotations, and other works by Cohen focusing on the absence of sound.