Leonard Cohen on The Future: “If I’d just nailed the lyrics of The Future to a church door in Wittenberg, it would be a heavy and foreboding and sinister document – but it’s married to a hot little dance track.”

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If I’d just nailed the lyrics of The Future to a church door in Wittenberg, it would be a heavy and foreboding and sinister document – but it’s married to a hot little dance track. So the music dissolves in the lyric and the lyric dissolves in the music, and you’re left with a kind of refreshment, a kind of oxygen.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Melancholy Baby by John Walsh. The Independent Magazine: May 8, 1993.  Originally posted Jan 11, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“We don’t write the play, we don’t produce it, we don’t direct it, and we’re not even actors in it…” Leonard Cohen On A Thousand Kisses Deep

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We don’t write the play, we don’t produce it, we don’t direct it, and we’re not even actors in it. Everybody eventually comes to the conclusion that things are not unfolding exactly the way they wanted, and that the whole enterprise has a basis that you can’t penetrate. Nevertheless, you live your life as if it’s real. But with the understanding: it’s only a thousand kisses deep, that is, with that deep intuitive understanding that this is unfolding according to a pattern that you simply cannot discern.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From The Loneliness of the Long-Suffering Folkie by Wayne Robins. Newsday: November 22, 1992.

“I never made a big distinction between that which we call a poem & that which we call a song” Leonard Cohen

“Whether Fats Domino sings ‘I Found My Thrill On Blueberry Hill’ or Yeats writes ‘Only God could love you for yourself alone and not your yellow hair,’ I made no distinction between the popular expression and the literary expression.” Leonard Cohen

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I never made a big distinction between that which we call a poem and that which we call a song. It was the sort of expression which used beauty, rhythm, authority and truth. All these ideas were implicit. Whether Fats Domino sings ‘I Found My Thrill On Blueberry Hill’ or Yeats writes ‘Only God could love you for yourself alone and not your yellow hair,’ I made no distinction between the popular expression and the literary expression. I knew that ‘The Great Pretender’ was a very good poem; I made no hierarchies.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen, quoted in Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Throat Culture magazine, 1992). Fats Domino photo by Roland Godefroy; cropped by Erik Baas (Own work (photo personnelle)) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0, GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons  Originally posted December 31, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“They just have an appetite for experience and that’s what a writer is supposed to do, clarify experience.” Leonard Cohen On His Appeal To Young People

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Interviewer: Why do you think you appeal to people in that age group [early 20s]?

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I think I’m maybe the oldest living teenager, maybe that’s part of it. I think younger people are interested in information in a way that older people are not. Older people often don’t want to hear anything new or anything upsetting. Whereas, young people are very hungry for that kind of intelligence. [Interviewer: They don’t mind upsetting the equilibrium.] No, they prefer to. They just have an appetite for experience and that’s what a writer is supposed to do, clarify experience.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From the transcript of a radio program broadcast in Sydney, Australia by ABC in March 1980. Photo of Leonard Cohen performing in 1980 taken by Pete Purnell.

Leonard Cohen Endorses Intentional Fallacy “You’ve got to discard the author’s intention. It doesn’t matter what the author’s intention in the piece is… It exists independently of his opinions about it.”

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When I was at school there was a book that was very popular called Seven Types of Ambiguity. One of the things it criticized was something called ‘The Author’s Intention.’ You’ve got to discard the author’s intention. It doesn’t matter what the author’s intention in the piece is, or what his interpretation of the piece is, or what his evaluation or estimation of the piece is. It exists independently of his opinions about it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From a 1992 interview with Leonard Cohen published in Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo. Da Capo Press: 1997. Photo by Paul Zollo.

Seven Types of Ambiguity by William Empson (Chatto and Windus, London: 1930) is one of the foundations of the school of literary theory known as New Criticism.

“Everybody’s experienced [defeat], and when it’s presented to us sweetly, the feeling moves from heart to heart and we feel less isolated and we feel part of the great human chain” Leonard Cohen

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We all love a sad song. Everybody has experienced the defeat of their lives. Nobody has a life that worked out the way they wanted it to. We all begin as the hero of our own dramas in centre stage and inevitably life moves us out of centre stage, defeats the hero, overturns the plot and the strategy and we’re left on the sidelines wondering why we no longer have a part — or want a part — in the whole damn thing. Everybody’s experienced this, and when it’s presented to us sweetly, the feeling moves from heart to heart and we feel less isolated and we feel part of the great human chain which is really involved with the recognition of defeat.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen at 80 by Mark Ellen. Times (London): Sept 19, 2014. Photo by Steve Peters (aka Birminghamfan)Originally posted Oct 6, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric