“The thing I liked about [the PEN Award] was that I’m sharing it with Chuck Berry” Leonard Cohen

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The thing I liked about [the PEN New England award for literary excellence in song lyrics] was that I’m sharing it with Chuck Berry. ‘Roll over Beethoven / Tell Tchaikovsky the news’… I’d like to write a line like thatquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

The Wisdom Of Leonard Cohen by Kevin Perry. GQ: Jan 19, 2012. Chuck Berry photo by Michael Borkson – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, Wikipedia Commons. Originally posted Aug 12, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Also see Chuck Berry Dies – “All of us are footnotes to the words of Chuck Berry” Leonard Cohen

More about the 2012 PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award won by Leonard Cohen and Chuck Berry at PEN Awards.

Leonard Cohen On The Theme Of “The Traitor”

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[The Traitor is about] failing or betraying some mission you were mandated to fulfill and being unable to fulfill it and then coming to understand that the real mandate was not to fulfill it but to stand guiltless in the predicament in which you found yourself.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Lian Lunson’s documentary, “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man.”

“Some people write great songs in the back of taxicabs…Unfortunately, I am one who deals with tohu va’vohu.” Leonard Cohen

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The cabalists interpret tohu va’vohu [a Biblical Hebrew phrase in Genesis 1:2 that describes the condition of the earth before God said, ‘Let there be light’ – often translated as ‘chaos and desolation’] to mean the raw material of creation. If you’re really going to build the universe in the image of the Creator, the process is involved with an intimate association with chaos and desolation. Those are the building blocks, the DNA. Unfortunately you have to become very familiar with those elements, those out of which form and beauty emerge, and you want to keep them at arm’s length as much of the time as possible. But when you’re trying to make something that has an enduring form or a significance, you have to deal with some of these elements. Some people write great songs in the back of taxicabs. I’ve always wanted to be one of them. Unfortunately, I am one who deals with tohu va’vohu. I don’t think my situation is unique. I wouldn’t even call what I feel anguish; it’s more like discomfort. But I’m reluctant to talk about these matters because they are essentially, from my point of view, of a religious nature, intimately connected to my work. That discomfort is refined in the crucible of attention and intuition and surrender, and what there is to say of it is in the work itself.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen, Pain Free by Sheldon Teitelbaum. Los Angeles Times: April 05, 1992. Originally posted Jun 27, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I’m not and never have been on a spiritual journey. I recognize there is a greater power. I’m just the secretary taking down notes.” Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Cohen’s response to a query at Old Ideas listening party about how his spiritual journey was going. From A Night With Leonard Cohen by Timothy J., Program Manager, Starbucks: February 21, 2012. Note: Originally posted July 15, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Before I can discard the verse, I have to write it…” Leonard Cohen on songwriting:

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Before I can discard the verse, I have to write it… I can’t discard a verse before it is written because it is the writing of the verse that produces whatever delights or interests or facets that are going to catch the light. The cutting of the gem has to be finished before you can see whether it shines.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From a 1992 interview with Leonard Cohen published in Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo. Da Capo Press: 1997. Photo by Paul Zollo. Originally posted Jul 18, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I try to make my songs as exact as I can. Sometimes I have the feeling that I am painting with an eyelash.” Leonard Cohen

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I try to make my songs as exact as I can. Sometimes I have the feeling that I am painting with an eyelash. I think of myself as a journalist and my job is to report the news. I write the stories I see around me. I do not try to analyze society nor penetrate some geopolitical vision. But I react to things like everyone else and my songs are an expression of my reactions.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen: “We are instruments of a will that is not our own.” by Jordi Saládrigas. ABC, Sunday Supplement: July 22, 2001. Photo by Paul Zollo. Originally posted July 14, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric