Now In Turkish: I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons

turkInformation (in Turkish) about the Turkish edition of I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons can be found at Leonard Cohen’in Hayatı

Editions in Czech and Korean should also be released soon.

“Your relaxed mind is careful, but it does not hit the demon from its own discomfort”

Just for grins, Sylvie processed her own prologue, rendered in Turkish. back into English via Google Translate. Our favorite lines of the result follow:

He is a polite man, he has the attitude of the old and graceful … Leaning greetings while getting acquainted, getting up on your feet. Your relaxed mind is careful, but it does not hit the demon from its own discomfort.

Exclusive Q&A With Tim Footman, Author Of New Leonard Cohen Biography


Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography By Tim Footman

Note: Originally posted Jan 11, 2010 at, a predecessor of

Tim Footman’s Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography (Chrome Dreams, November 1, 2009) is the first major biography of Leonard Cohen published in English since 1996, when Various Positions – A Life of Leonard Cohen by Ira Nadel and In Every Style of Passion by Jim Devlin were released.1

In 1996, Leonard Cohen was still in residence at the Mount Baldy Zen Center where he would remain in retreat until 1999. And, as Heck Of A Guy readers know, the ensuing years have been eventful ones for the Canadian singer-songwriter. In 2001, Cohen released two new albums, Field Commander Cohen and Ten New Songs. Dear Heather came out in 2004 while Blue Alert was released in 2006, the same year Book Of Longing was published and Cohen was awarded a place in the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2005, Cohen discovered the catastrophic fiscal losses that, in turn, led to his decision to set off on the Leonard Cohen World Tour in 2008. Along the way, Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Live In London concert album came out, and Hallelujah ascended to the top of the UK charts at the end of 2008. The past decade has been, in short, busy, busy, busy.

Consequently, the timing of this volume’s appearance alone would make this a potentially important book for anyone with more than a casual interest in Leonard Cohen.

Reviews have been generally favorable although spirited dissent, primarily from readers (such as customers at Amazon and other online booksellers) and Cohen fans, are easy enough to find.2

So, a few days ago, I emailed Tim Footman this request:

I’ve received enough email about your Cohen biography and there are enough notes on it in LeonardCohenForum to convince me that folks, some of whom have even read your book, have strong feelings – or at least intensely ambivalent opinions – about it. Always eager to cash in on interest generated by the efforts of someone else (that would be you), I am taking keyboard in hand to ask if you would be willing to complete an email Q&A that would serve as the basis for a Heck Of A Guy post.

His response follows:

Dear Allan,

“Intensely ambivalent”. I like it. Yes, go for it, should be fun.


The Official Heck Of A Guy Review Of Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah: A New Biography

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  1. The precision of this declaration is dependent upon ones definition of the term, “major biography.” The Leonard Cohen Bibliography at LeonardCohenFiles includes an section of biographies implementing rather more liberal criteria for the genre which is nonetheless incomplete. The press release from the publisher of Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah describes it as the first biography since 1998. In any case, it’s been a while. []
  2. When I checked American Amazon site, for example, there were three buyer reviews – one gave the book a 5-star rating, one gave it 3 stars, and one gave it 2 stars. On Amazon’s UK site, there were three 5-star reviews and two 4-star ratings. []

“Leonard Cohen made the place feel intimate and warm, and hearts feel ready to burst” 2012 Ottawa Show Review

Photo by Joey Carenza at Notes From The Road

I had reservations about seeing Cohen inside an arena as large as Scotiabank Place but in the end, it didn’t matter. Cohen made the place feel intimate and warm, and hearts feel ready to burst. He’s still one of the best.quotedown2



From Leonard Cohen Entrances At Scotiabank Place, Denis Armstrong’s review of the Dec 7, 2012 Leonard Cohen Ottawa concert (Ottawa Sun: Dec 7, 2012)

Credit Due Department: Photo by J.S. Carenza III. Originally posted De 8, 2012 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s Last Words To Me: “I love your mother’s house”

thewall9One of the rewards of posting about Leonard Cohen at Cohencentric (and its predecessor, was the receipt of unsolicited email from Leonard. While I was certainly grateful that he took the time to respond to my questions about a concert date, his contacts with other musicians, the provenance of a photo, etc, the ultimate treat was a spontaneous email from Leonard.

As it turned out, the last words I received from Leonard Cohen were in one of these spontaneous emails. It arrived a week or two before his death and consisted of only five words plus his signature initial:

I love your mother’s housequotedown2


My Mother’s House

A word of explanation is necessary. While most of my blogging is accomplished in service of, I also maintain a personal blog,, which features — well, everything other than Leonard Cohen. It offers posts, for example, about Julie Showalter and her writing, Neil Ellis photos, A.E. Housman, the Duchess (aka Penny Showalter), broomcorn, my former homes in Oklahoma, northwest Illinois, & the Ozarks, David Mamet quotations … .

Anyhow, I had published a number of posts on under the umbrella title of “DrHGuy’s Family Home Curios & Oddities Photo Safari,” comprising views of the doodads, antiques, gadgets, widgets, junk, tchotchkes, collectibles, curios, odds, ends, and much, much more that lined the walls and in the geological layers of miscellanea that arose from nearly every horizontal surface in my mother’s home in the Ozarks. The photo atop this post displays several specimens.

raodersA representative selection can be found at Living Room Exhibits, and links to all the exhibits are located at Summary Page: DrHGuy’s Family Home Curios & Oddities Photo Safari

Leonard’s Message

Leonard had an extraordinary ability to embrace folks on their own terms. While many have written of engaging with Leonard Cohen over metaphysics, musicology, Judaism, sociological phenomena, Zen Buddhism, poetry. or other, similarly weighty topics. Our conversations, on the other hand, were much more likely to deal with our families, future plans, mutual acquaintances, preferences in exercise programs, tales of his band members and backup singers …  A modicum of gossip and a few jokes were also commonplace.

So, at a time when he was severely ill and still in the midst of the coming out of You Want It Darker, his final album, Leonard Cohen was cruising the web. And, he landed not my blog about him but my blog about everything else but him and then took the time to email me to let me know that he liked the posts about my mother’s collectibles.

For the record, my reply was “I’m glad you like it, especially given that ‘the voluptuous feeling of simplicity’ wasn’t  mom’s decorating touchstone.”

Now, I believe Leonard sincerely enjoyed those photos of mom’s cabin in the Ozarks. But, I am convinced the reason he sent that email was that he knew I would appreciate knowing that he enjoyed those photos of mom’s cabin in the Ozarks.

Leonard once inscribed a photo,

to Allan

One of the greatest men alivequotedown2



lcautophotoBut, the comment of his I treasure most is “I love your mother’s house.”

And, I still check my email every morning for messages from Leonard.

“[Leonard] Cohen’s show reminded me of some deep-down thing music can do, that words can do in a certain order, that breath can do when you’re saying something you really mean, that graciousness can do when you extend it to everyone you meet”


I spend a lot of time thinking and wondering about what direction rock-based music is going, and sometimes I notice that things like songwriting seem to not be as popular as they used to be, that there’s a kind of stylized feint towards songwriting on a couple of modern records but it all feels kind of reflexive, perfunctory, an old-fashioned gesture in a rock landscape that’s more about statement-making production or atmosphere or just vibes. Sometimes it’s discouraging. Cohen’s show reminded me of some deep-down thing music can do, that words can do in a certain order, that breath can do when you’re saying something you really mean, that graciousness can do when you extend it to everyone you meet. This thing, this almost sacred-feeling thing, is the reason that most people get into music to begin with. This thing or different versions of it. And from day-to-day we forget it or we need to take a break from it or walk away from it for awhile. But when we come back it’s there and it’s real and it’s clear.quotedown2



Top ten experiences with music in the last year: Number One: Leonard Cohen at Barclay’s Center, Brooklyn NY. May 20th, 2012 by Will Sheff ( December 24, 2012)

Listen To Sylvie Simmons Talk About “Leonard Cohen’s Poetry, Music & Sexual Exploits” – Catskill Review Of Books

Leonard Cohen’s Poetry, Music & Sexual Exploits
Sylvie Simmons: Author of “I’m Your Man: The Life Of Leonard Cohen”
Catskill Review Of Books At Syndicatednews.Net
Ian Williams, Host (Dec 9, 2012)

Credit Due Department: Photo by Lynette van Duyn Originally posted Dec 10, 2012 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric