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… 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.
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. 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.
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
I think that excellence is the only standard [for artists]. There’s all kinds of other matters like making a living & freedom from having to satisfy whatever regulations pertain to the artistic circle, which are often very tyrannical. I never felt my work needed any label or refuge.
From Leonard Cohen: Working for the World to Come. The interview (probably from 1982) was published in the book In Their Own Words: Interviews with fourteen Canadian writers, by Bruce Mayer and Brian O’Riordan, 1984. Found at LeonardCohenfiles. Originally posted Dec 16, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Yeats’s father said poetry is the social act of a solitary man – we all find ways of bridging that isolation. For writers it is words, but for the cabinet-maker it is the presentation of the finished bureau. I don’t think the act of writing is especially significant. I think a man or woman lays their work at the foot of their beloved. We do everything for love.
From A Life In The Day Of Leonard Cohen Interview By Nigel Williamson. The Sunday Times Magazine (London), 1997 (no longer online). Originally posted Dec 22, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
In my opinion, it’s very good that songs in general take much energy, while poetry stands there, pure poetry. It’s a very good thing that poetry is not popular. It’s marvelous to renew language with secret work, not popular work. It’s very important to keep that difference between songs and poetry. Songs are wonderful, there is poetry in them. Poetry contains the song’s spirit. But the working, the practical aspects of poetry occur in a secret room behind a veil. It’s the real furnace of language.
From Le Cercle de Minuit – Michel Field, Interviewer. Broadcast by France 2: December 1992. Originally posted Apr 27, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric