“What I have to say is not based on any particular idea, but just on an urgency.” Leonard Cohen


quoteup2
I never thought of myself as a musician or a writer. I just happened upon these instruments, and I’ve used them in the most direct and immediate way just to produce a setting for something I have to say. What I have to say is not based on any particular idea, but just on an urgency.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen: Pondering His Past and ‘The Future’ by Scott Crawford (Intermission, Stanford Daily: April 8, 1993). Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Just pure confession I never felt was really interesting. But confession filtered through a tradition of skill and hard work is interesting to me.” Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen - Helsinki 2010. Photo by Vesa

From ‘I’m Blessed With A Certain Amnesia’ by Jian Ghomeshi. The Guardian: July 9, 2009. Accessed 30 April 2014. Photo by Vesa Tapiola Originally posted Oct 30, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“The only time we win is that moment when we drop the battle and we affirm the whole situation with this embrace” Leonard Cohen Talks About Hallelujah & Bernadette


[John McKenna:] Song of Bernadette works on several levels. There the young visionary of February and March 1858 with that apparition in her soul. A vision no-one believed. And, there are the rest of us with our own visions and dreams, which no-one, least of all ourselves, can believe in. Once we realise that visions don’t last – they disappear – and we end up running and falling, rather than flying. There’s Bernadette, true to her belief and finally rewarded with the knowledge that there is mercy in the world. There’s Leonard Cohen, acknowledging that each of us is torn by what we’ve done and can’t undo.

quoteup2
I think that we mostly do fail in these things, but the thing that makes these failures supportable are these moments like the one I tried to talk about in Hallelujah or the one I tried to talk about in Bernadette it’s those are the moments when the thing is resolved – the thing is reconciled – not actually by moving pieces around it’s not a chess game. As I say in my new version of Hallelujah, ‘I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch, but love is not a victory march, it’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.’ Nobody’s going to win this, not the men not the women not the socialists, not the conservatives. Nobody’s going to win this deal. The only time we win is that moment when we drop the battle and we affirm the whole situation with this embrace.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns – Interview With Leonard Cohen Presented By John McKenna. RTE Ireland, May 9 & 12, 1988. Retrieved from LeonardCohenFiles. Originally posted November 22, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen invokes William Faulkner’s invocation of John Keats: “We all have to talk about something”


How do you feel about the fact that your work has now become curriculum at literature courses all over the world?

quoteup2
… At the beginning of my first book of poems [Let Us Compare Mythologies], I used a quotation from a short story by William Faulkner:

“All right” he said. “Listen and read again, but only one stanza this time and closed the book and laid it on the table. “She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss” McCaslin said: “Forever wilt thou love, and she be fair.” “He’s talking about a girl,” he said. “He had to talk about something,” McCaslin said.

That’s from The Bear by William Faulkner. We all have to talk about something.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

DrHGuy Note: A more extensive quote from the colloquy between Ike and McCaslin in The Bear by William Faulkner may be helpful:

McCaslin . . . returned with the book and sat down again and opened it. “Listen,” he said. He read the five stanzas aloud and closed the book on his finger and looked up. “All right,” he said. “Listen,” and read again, but only one stanza this time and closed the book and laid it on the table. “She cannot fade though thou hast not thy bliss,” McCaslin said: “Forever wilt thou love, and she be fair.”

“He’s talking about a girl,” he said.

“He had to talk about something,” McCaslin said.

Then he said, “He was talking about truth. Truth is one. It doesn’t change. It covers all things which touch the heart–honor and pity and pride and justice and courage and love. Do you see now?”

The lines McCaslin reads, “She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,/ For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!” are, of course, from Ode On A Grecian Urn by John Keats.

From Oct 16, 2001 Online Chat

Note: Originally posted Dec 30, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen on songs as “best way to say the most important things…”

imgLC057_bewerkt-2

quoteup2
It’s very hard to really untangle the real reasons why you do anything. But I was always interested in music and it seemed to me I always played guitar. I always associated song and singing with some sort of nobility of spirit. The first songs I learned were of the workers movement. I always thought that this was the best way to say the most important things… I don’t mean the most ponderous or pompous things. I mean the important things — like how you feel about things, how you feel about someone else — and I always thought this was the way to do it. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Pacifica Interview with Kathleen Kendall. WBAI Radio, New York City: December 4, 1974. Photo by  Pete Purnell. Originally posted Dec 26, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“It takes me a great deal of time to find out what the song is.” The Atlantic Features Leonard Cohen – & 24 Other Songwriters – On The Art Of Songwriting

The July 10, 2012 Atlantic article, 25 Great Songwriters on the Art of Songwriting by Tom Hawking, demonstrates superb editorial perspicacity in featuring a photo of Leonard Cohen in the banner for the piece and placing Cohen first among those 25 songwriters, a list that includes John Lennon, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Björk, Patti Smith, and others.

The entire article is an interesting and worthwhile read. As a random example of the content, I’ve chosen the Leonard Cohen sagacity quoted there:

I’m writing all the time. And as the songs begin to coalesce, I’m not doing anything else but writing. I wish I were one of those people who wrote songs quickly. But I’m not. So it takes me a great deal of time to find out what the song is.

Note: Originally posted July 11, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric