“I touched her [Suzanne’s] perfect body with my mind, because … there was no other way that you could touch her perfect body” Leonard Cohen on Suzanne


quoteup2
The song was begun, and the chord pattern was developed, before a woman’s name entered the song. And I knew it was a song about Montreal, it seemed to come out of that landscape that I loved very much in Montreal, which was the harbour, and the waterfront, and the sailors’ church there, called Notre Dame de Bon Secour, which stood out over the river, and I knew that there’re ships going by, I knew that there was a harbour, I knew that there was Our Lady of the Harbour, which was the virgin on the church which stretched out her arms towards the seamen, and you can climb up to the tower and look out over the river, so the song came from that vision, from that view of the river. At a certain point, I bumped into Suzanne [Verdal] Vaillancourt, who was the wife of a friend of mine, they were a stunning couple around Montreal at the time, physically stunning, both of them, a handsome man and woman, everyone was in love with Suzanne Vaillancourt, and every woman was in love with Armand Vaillancourt. But there was no… well, there was thought, but there was no possibility, one would not allow oneself to think of toiling at the seduction of Armand Vaillancourt’s wife. First of all he was a friend, and second of all as a couple they were inviolate, you just didn’t intrude into that kind of shared glory that they manifested. I bumped into her one evening, and she invited me down to her place near the river. She had a loft, at a time when lofts were… the word wasn’t used. She had a space in a warehouse down there, and she invited me down, and I went with her, and she served me Constant Comment tea, which has little bits of oranges in it. And the boats were going by, and I touched her perfect body with my mind, because there was no other opportunity. There was no other way that you could touch her perfect body under those circumstances. So she provided the name in the song.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

For Suzanne Verdal’s point of view about the song, see Video: Suzanne Verdal Talks About Leonard Cohen & The Song He Wrote About Her

From 1993 Interview On BBC Radio 1FM. Found in Whispering Pines: The Northern Roots of American Music… from Hank Snow to the Band by Jason Schneider ECW Press, Dec 15, 2010) Originally posted February 19, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“There’s enjoyment that comes through seriousness …” Leonard Cohen explains “why I write such sad songs”

Leonard_Cohen_2181

quoteup2
Why I Write Such Sad Songs: It isn’t that I choose to. This is what I am. Seriousness, rather than depression is, I think, the characteristic of my work. I like a good laugh, but I think there’s enjoyment that comes through seriousness. We all know when we close the door and come into your room and you’re left with your heart and your emotions, it isn’t all that funnyquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Yakety Yak: Midnight Confessions and Revelations of 37 Rock Stars & Legends by Scott Cohen (Fireside: June 21, 1994). Photo by Rama (Own work) [CeCILL or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr], via Wikimedia Commons. Originally posted May 4, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On His Book Of Mercy As Prayers: “You’re trying to locate a source of strength that you just don’t command”

 

Interviewer: When I was reading [Book Of Mercy], I could feel with each prayer a stripping away of illusion.

quoteup2
That’s what I was trying to do. After all, you’re not on the stand when you are praying. You can’t come with any excuses. And you don’t really have a deep belief in your own opinions any longer, or your constructions about the way things are. That’s why you pray. You don’t have a prayer. You’re trying to locate a source of strength that you just don’t commandquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Talking Out of Turn #29: Leonard Cohen (1984) by Kevin Courrier. Critics at Large: May 19, 2012, Note: The interview took place in 1984

Leonard Cohen’s response to the criticism that his music is depressing “I’m not the first person to mention that this world isn’t exactly Disneyland…”


quoteup2
I’m not the first person to mention that this world isn’t exactly Disneyland There is a bit of the butcher shop to be discerned in this corner or that. But the actual mail I get … has a very contrary message: ‘You got me through the night.’ ‘Thanks a lot, this stuff really spoke to me a lot when I was feeling real bad.’ Most of the mail I get has that tone to it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From An Interview With Leonard Cohen by Rob O’Connor (Downtown, Feb 12, 1992). This article was contributed by Dominique BOILE.  Originally posted Jan 15, 2015 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric