Recommendation: Spirituality And Desire In Leonard Cohen’s Songs And Poems By Peter Billingham

newbkSpirituality And Desire In Leonard Cohen’s Songs And Poems by Peter Billingham (Cambridge Scholars: Jan 1, 2017) comprises ten essays generated for a one day symposium at at the University of Winchester in 2014 (see listing at Chapter Titles & Contributors: Spirituality And Desire In Leonard Cohen’s Songs And Poems By Peter Billingham).

Given that the selections range from an unflinchingly Freudian analysis (Sex, Religion, Politics, and the Death Instinct: ‘Night Comes On’ by Leighton Grist), to “A Short Abstract Film about the Life and Work of Leonard Cohen” (David Burden), to a Hegelian perspective (Leonard Cohen and the Philosophical Voice of Learning by Rebekah Howes) to a piece by Cohencentric’s favorite rock chick, Sylvie Simmons, it is unsurprisingly that the style and quality of the chapters vary significantly.

Readers should be aware that most of these essays will require some heavy slogging (and Googling) for non-academics.  The effort is, however, rewarded. I especially recommend Julian Stannard’s accessible and enlightening look at Cohen’s early poetry, Billingham’s examination of the recurring Wounded Man figure in Cohen’s songs, and Sylvie Simmons’ insights into Cohen’s reluctance to facilitate overanalysis (i.e., any analysis whatsoever) of his work.

Jikan Leonard Cohen Memorial Messages From His Friends At Rinzai-ji

When Leonard was only a few months away from death, I asked him why he was using the last ounces of his energy to produce yet another CD. He said, there are hundreds of thousands of people in this world who have been so kind as to listen to my music, and this is my last chance to thank them. Who says something like that? Only someone who had himself poured his heart into countless poems and songs and was so touched that his heart had been received — and that was at the core of the Leonard Cohen sangha, the community of those who could laugh and cry together with him.quotedown2

Yoshin David Radin

Comments on Leonard Cohen’s passing by Pico Iyer,Noritake Shunan Roshi, Yoshin David Radin, Kendo Hal Roth can be found on pages 2-6 of News of Rinzai-ji (Winter 2017)

Thanks to Augenstein Hannot, who alerted me to these edifying messages about Leonard.

“Without question, it was a magnificent concert” 2012 Leonard Cohen Ottawa Show Review


For starters, imagine our surprise when the 78-year-old made his entrance with a spring in his step and apparently unlimited mobility. He sunk to his knees to sing, or rather, purr, in that sub-zero register of his, as if lowering the elevation of his body would facilitate the depth of his vocals. Neither his knees nor his voice would betray him for the next three hours. Without question, it was a magnificent concert.quotedown2


From Cohen Refuses To Get Old Legendary Artist Wows Crowd With Near-Perfect Show, Lynn Saxberg’s review of the Dec 7, 2012 Leonard Cohen Ottawa concert (Ottawa Citizen: Dec 8, 2012).

Credit Due Department: Photo by Ray Seed, who also displays his shots of Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, and other musicians at his Flickr Photostream. Originally posted December 8, 2012 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“The [2008 Leonard Cohen St John’s] concert in its entirety was flawless and … the musicians, coupled with Cohen’s enthusiastic integrity, made for an evening those in attendance likely won’t forget.”

He’s Your Man [review of May 25, 2008 St John’s concert] by Justin Brake (Telegram: May 27, 2008). The article is no longer available on its original site, but a copy can be found at LeonardCohenForum.

Where Leonard Cohen Ordered “The Silence Of The Lamb Chops” And More – Exploring Leonard Cohen’s Montreal


Mr. Cohen would always arrive at Moishes with company and greet its current owner, Leonard, one of Moishe’s sons, with the same jovial if mysterious hello: ‘They’re never gonna get us, Leonard. They’re never gonna get us.’ He would request lamb chops and a red Bordeaux. ‘He loved our lamb chops. He called them Silence of the Lamb chops. ‘I’ll have an order of the Silence of the Lamb chops.’ That was really his character,’ Mr. Lighter said.quotedown2


Exploring the Montreal That Leonard Cohen Loved by Rose Maura Lorre (New York Times: Feb. 10, 2017). The entire article, replete with beaucoup stories and photos, can be viewed at the link.

More Montreal

All Cohencentric posts dealing with Leonard Cohen’s Montreal connections can be accessed at . Other online articles on this topic can be found in the Leonard Cohen’s Montreal section of the Leonard Cohen Online Directory.

Credit Due Department: Photo atop this post taken by and posted with the permission of Lilian Graziani.