“One of the absolute qualifications for a writer is not knowing his arse from his elbow.” Leonard Cohen

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One of the absolute qualifications for a writer is not knowing his arse from his elbow. I think that’s where it starts. With a lack of knowledge. The sense of not knowing what is happening and the need to organise experience on the page or in the song is one of the motivations of a writer.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabatoge Times. Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview). Originally posted Jan 29, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen invokes Yeats on aging: “‘A foolish passion in an old man,’ that’s not a bad calling…”

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What Yeats said about ‘a foolish passion in an old man,’ that’s not a bad calling. To stay alive in the heart and the spine and the genitals, to be sensitive to these delicious movements, is not a bad way to go.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Melancholy Baby by John Walsh. The Independent Magazine: May 8, 1993

DrHGuy Note: Leonard Cohen’s Yeats reference appears to be to the final line of A Prayer For Old Age by William Butler Yeats:

God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;

From all that makes a wise old man
That can be praised of all;
O what am I that I should not seem
For the song’s sake a fool?

I pray—for word is out
And prayer comes round again—
That I may seem, though I die old,
A foolish, passionate man.

Note: Originally posted Jan 2, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Ah friends, it’s been so fine, Been so good, Been so sweet. Been so nice, I’d like to keep this going for a long time but we’re pushing right against the curfew.” Leonard Cohen – Amsterdam 2012

Leonard Cohen To Amsterdam Audience At End Of 2013 European Tour – August 22, 2012. Photo by Peter Torbijn of The Netherlands. More information about and photos of this episode can be found at Leonard Cohen & Friends Stay Out Past Curfew In Euphoric Act Of Memento Mori, Originally posted September 21, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

Leonard Cohen on “The reanimation of the blood-lust which human beings seem to fall back on whenever they get mildly bewildered about their predicament” 1994


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As I said, ‘I have seen the future baby, it is murder.’  I would say one of the consequences is going to be tremendous disorder and the reanimation of the blood-lust which human beings seem to fall back on whenever they get mildly bewildered about their predicament. When the Berlin Wall came down, I wrote, ‘Give me back the Berlin Wall, give me Stalin and Saint Paul’ — there weren’t many people saying that at the time.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From A Purple Haze To A Purple Patch by Adam Sweeting (The Canberra Times: July 24, 1994)

“You sense the destruction of your body & your mind, and you feel here is…the last boxing ring, or the last Ouija board, where you can examine some of the ideas that have intrigued you. That have seized you, really.” Leonard Cohen


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The clear sense that you know you’re in the homeward stretch is a very compelling component in writing. A lot of other things fall away that you hope would satisfy you like human life, and your work becomes a kind of haven, and you want to go there, and you’re grateful when the time opens in such a way that you can actually sit down and work at your own work, because everything else somehow has failed. I’m speaking not just for myself. Somehow, just in the nature of things, you know, the disappointments accumulate, and the obstacles multiply and you sense the destruction of your body, and your mind, and you feel here is the last arena, ‘arena’ is too big, the last boxing ring, or the last Ouija board, where you can examine some of the ideas that have intrigued you. That have seized you, really.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Coffee and candour with Cohen by Simon Houpt (Globe & Mail: Feb. 27, 2009). Originally posted July 25, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On The Mistaken Interpretation Of Sex In Beautiful Losers


The book [Beautiful Losers] sold 350,000 copies in paperback form in America but he couldn’t get it published in Britain because it was considered too obscene for anyone to handle.

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They didn’t realise that I wasn’t turning people on to sex but putting it downquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen by Ray Connolly. Evening Standard, July 1968