From Leonard Cohen: Cohen’s New Skin by Harvey Kubernik (Melody Maker:1 March 1975). Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles. Photo by Guido Harari. Originally posted May 21, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Interviewer: But Cohen’s visions, full of mystical figures such as Joan of Arc and allusions to such things as Scientology and Zen [both of which he’s “plugged into” at one time or another] are not what most people in popular music write about.
Leonard Cohen: Hmm, yes, that’s true. But then, my music isn’t very popular, is it?
For Cohen, Grief Is Joy by Lynn Van Matre (Chicago Tribune: Nov 23, 1975). Thanks to Rike, who discovered and contributed the article from which this quote is taken.
When I write a song, and it becomes a finished work, to me it becomes an incredible achievement. Each one of my songs is above me. When I say above me, I mean almost as though it was better than me. With the books and the poems, it’s a different feeling. My God, to do a song is a total mental process.
From Leonard Cohen Talks To Roy Hollingworth by Roy Hollingworth (Melody Maker: Sept 5, 1970). Photo Credit: Peter Brosseau/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170174. Thanks to Rike, who contributed this article.
In Beautiful Losers you wrote, ‘disarmed and empty, an instrument of grace.’ Can you make that condition happen?
Those conditions arise spontaneously. Often they’re the result of writing. I have in a poem, ‘How sweet to be that wretch, forgotten by himself in the midst of his own testimony.’ When an experience is embracing or total you don’t know who you are. When you jump into a pool of really cold water, when you hit that water there’s no you.
From Interview / Leonard Cohen By Alan Twigg. Essay Date: 1979, 1984, 1985. ABC Bookworld.
My own opinions are predictable; I can dredge them up in a conversation over a drink to keep the talk flowing. And I feel the same way about beliefs: My beliefs are predictable, and I find them kind of tiresome. So I need to write a lot to avoid the opinion, the belief or the slogan, and to come up with the freshness that determines the living quality of a piece of work.
State of Grace by Doug Saunders. Globe and Mail: Sept 1, 2001. Accessed 09 June 2014 at Ten New Songs. Originally posted Jun 16, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric