Hear BBC Radio Panel: So long, Marianne: Leonard Cohen bids farewell to his muse

From BBC description:

Leonard Cohen’s muse Marianne Ihlen, whom he wrote about in So Long, Marianne and Bird on a Wire, died in Norway on 29 July, aged 81.

Just before she died, a friend contacted Leonard Cohen to let him know the end was near. Less than two hours later a message came back, which her friend read to her.

Art critic Anita Sethi and Telegraph chief music critic Neil McCormick, who has interviewed Leonard Cohen, discussed the message Cohen sent to Ihlen and the broader significance of the muse in the history of art.

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Sharon B, who alerted me to this program

Marianne Autographs Iconic Back Cover Of Leonard Cohen Songs From A Room

“The Room Of Many Songs”

marianneauto2In April 2016, Marianne Ihlen, who died in July 2016, sent Dominique BOILE these two autographed booklets (from CDs) featuring the iconic back cover of Leonard Cohen Songs From A Room with Marianne sitting at Leonard’s Olivetti typewriter in their home in Hydra. The inscriptions appended to the autograph are shown above the respective images.

“With Love From Marianne”


Marianne, Hydra And The Love Affair With Cohen – Now In English


Marianne, Hydra And The Love Affair With Cohen

By Evangelia Avlonitou (Kathimerini: June 14, 2015)
Translated into English by Demetris Tsimperis

Marianne Ihlen, the woman who inspired the song «So Long Marianne» by Leonard Cohen and had a love affair with him during the years they lived in Hydra, is sitting opposite me in a cafe at the harbor of the island. She is beautiful, charming and humane, awaiting – a bit anxiously- my questions. I did not come with questions, I reassure her,  taking off my glasses. I came only with a bag and a book excerpt in my mind. She laughs, relieved. “How good” she says and sinks into her chair. I explain to her that the passage I am going to share with her is by a 87 year old Australian writer, Elizabeth Harrower.


Harrower writes: “A woman may encounter at any time in her life, a concrete pyramid in the middle of the road. It is usually a man or more. The woman is capable of sitting there convinced that it is impossible to proceed until finally the pyramid becomes her personal Thermopylae. This obstacle may contribute to the perpetuation of the species, but its price is heavy. What makes men superior is that – most of them – don’t stop to function forever because of another human being. They lack this inherent disadvantage and they are lucky”. Marianne laughs loudly. “How true is this” she says taking off her dark glasses. “I climbed this pyramid, I fell down and then moved on”. We stay silent for a while. Me out of respect and she for her own reasons. The midday flying dolphin has just arrived at the port of Hydra and our silence is covered by the sounds of the crowd.

“I  saw the film ‘Boy on a Dolphin’ in a cinema in Oslo in the ’50s and I thought here’s a place that I will never go. And here I am,” she says, and what impresses me more than the coincidences of life, is that her eyes – blue of ice and sky – are so different from the eyes of most people today; warm and vivid, full of patience and gentle curiosity. “If I hadn’t met Dalai Lama in Norway in ’52 I would never have come here” she continues. “It was he who gave me the courage to leave my home and who first taught me the meaning of compassion; to accept, to overcome and to not criticize.”

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“Leonard Cohen is a rare and great person, and I will always love and honor him. I am glad we met that day on the port of Hydra. He taught me so much about myself, something he saw in me while I was still ‘blind.'” Marianne Ihlen – April 23, 2016

lc0ma-axMarianne Ihlen writing to Dominique Boile – April 23, 2016

Photo posted on Instagram by manykitchen

“Marianne was terrific” Leonard Cohen on Marianne Ihlen


Oh, Marianne was terrific, and of course one never, at that age one is mostly interested in beauty. And she had beauty in abundance, I think that’s mostly what one saw, what anyone would have seen with Marianne, this glorious beauty, and then she was an old-fashioned girl, and I kind of come from an old-fashioned background myself, so, the things that I took for granted with Marianne, and she perhaps took with me, a certain kind of courtesy and behavior and ritual and order, which became very scarce as I got older, I didn’t find it with such abundance in other women. But Marianne had some wonderful family qualities, and the home that she made was very very beautiful, very old fashioned. I don’t know how things go now with the young, but that house was very orderly and there was always a gardenia on my desk where I’d work, you know. There was such a sense of order and generosity, that she had, that she still has.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Looks Back On The Past. Interview with Leonard Cohen by Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005, Found at LeonardCohenFiles.

Leonard Cohen On His Breakup With Marianne: “Weightlessly, like ashes falling”


I don’t remember how we split up, somehow we just moved and we just separated. The periods of separations became longer and longer, and then somehow it collapsed. Kind of weightlessly, like ashes falling.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

The quote is from Leonard Looks Back On The Past. Interview with Leonard Cohen by Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005. Accessed 25 June 2014 at LeonardCohenFiles.

Note: Originally posted Jun 28, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric