“People ask about the imagery all the time but sometimes it’s enough to say that the imagery has its own validity” Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Cohen answering questions from the press at a listening session for his Old Ideas album, reported in A Secular Saint by Brian Boyd. Irish Times: January 28, 2012

Note: Originally posted September 16, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen: “How do we produce work that touches the heart?”

toucheartFrom At Lunch With Leonard Cohen;Philosophical Songwriter On A Wire by Jon Pareles. New York Times: October 11, 1995. Originally posted October 16, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

The Leonard Cohen – Frank Sinatra Connection: Cohen Quotes Sinatra: “I’m for anything that gets you through the night.”

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Beryl Fox: What happens to your own personal anguish when you see it spread across the country and you know that you are making money on it.

Leonard Cohen: Well, I don’t know if I am gonna make any money on it. [Laughs] I don’t know if you can, if you can sell your anguish then you have probably done one of the best possible things you can do with anguish you know, anything you can do with anguish is good. Like Frank Sinatra said “I’m for anything that gets you through the night.” Print is a minor form of invisibility. I think that if you really get good then you do disappear

From This Hour Has Seven Days. CBC: May 1, 1966. [Formatting mine]

DrHGuy Note – The Sinatra quote follows:

Basically, I’m for anything that gets you through the night – be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels.

The Leonard Cohen – Frank Sinatra Connection series explores the links between the crooner known as “The Voice” and the Canadian singer-songwriter “born with the gift of a golden voice.”

Note: Originally posted April 4, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On Story of Isaac: “It isn’t necessarily for war that we’re willing to sacrifice each other”

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I was careful in that song [Story of Isaac] to try and put it beyond the pure, beyond the simple, anti-war protest, that it also is. Because it says at the end there the man of war, the man of peace, the peacock spreads his deadly fan. In other words it isn’t necessarily for war that we’re willing to sacrifice each other. We’ll get some idea – some magnificent idea – that we’re willing to sacrifice each other for; it doesn’t necessarily have to involve an opponent or an ideology, but human beings being what they are we’re always going to set up people to die for some absurd situation that we define as important. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns – Interview With Leonard Cohen by John McKenna. RTE Ireland, May 9 & 12, 1988. Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles. Originally posted Nov 30, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Credit Due Department: Photo atop post by Roland Godefroy – Own work, CC BY 3.0, via Wikipedia

“I wanted to…go into the Holy of Holies & negotiate with the deepest resources of my soul” Leonard Cohen On Poetry

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You can be the subject, and poetry can be the object. You can keep the subject/object relationship, and that’s completely legitimate. It is the point of view of the scholar. But I wanted to live this world. When I read the psalms or when they lifted up the Torah, that kind of thing sent a chill down my back. I wanted to be the one who lifted up the Torah. I wanted to be in that position. When they told me I was a Kohen, I believed it. I didn’t think it was some auxiliary information. I wanted to wear white clothes and go into the Holy of Holies and negotiate with the deepest resources of my soul. So I took the whole thing seriously. I was this little kid and whatever they told me in these matters resonated, and I wanted to be that figure who sang, ‘This is the Tree of Life.’ I tried to become that, and that world seemed open to me, and I was able to become that in my own modest way. I became that little figure to myself. So that was poetry to me, and I think it’s available to everybody.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Jewish Book News Interview With Leonard Cohen By Arthur Kurzweil And Pamela Roth: 1994. Originally posted July 29, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Considering Leonard Cohen’s Explanation Of “What Artistic Inspiration Might Actually Involve”

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 13, 2016: Leonard Cohen event for the release of his new album "You Want It Darker" on October 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Sony Music Canada)

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 13, 2016: Leonard Cohen event for the release of his new album “You Want It Darker” on October 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Sony Music Canada)

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Asked about the inspiration for a particular line for a particular song, Cohen answered, instead, with the most persuasive explanation I’ve encountered of what artistic inspiration might actually involve. At critical moments, from our depths, out of an impulse not for glory, not for wealth, not for fame, not for power, but out of an appetite to serve — serve something larger than ourselves, however one might define it — the emergency inside us finally speaks. Like all emergencies, this one, which I understand Cohen to be saying is a crisis of feeling, could result in casualties. Instead, worded and heard, it becomes a moment when lives might be saved, starting with our own. In Cohen’s vision of inspiration, these moments of articulation aren’t instances of the artist-as-god swooping in from on high. Rather, they are offerings that arise from below, things given from one person experiencing a state of emergency to another, at the critical moment.quotedown2

 

From Three Iconic Musicians on Artistic Creation — and Its Importance Now: Beck, Kendrick Lamar and Tom Waits articulate the creative impulse by Wyatt Mason (New York Times Magazine: March 1, 2017). Only the first three paragraphs of the introduction pertain to Leonard Cohen, but the entire piece is  a worthwhile read.