The phenomenon of poetry occurs in many realms, probably least frequently on the page. The people who call themselves poets are not necessarily in command of that activity. To try to summon that activity is to give yourself the least chance of experiencing it. If you’re really desperate and your life is really dismal and all the contests you have you lose as you tend to in life . . . since no one can take the title poet away from you while you embrace it, it’s a good thing to hang on to for a lot of people with nothing else to hang on to. It’s probably the last resort. But why not? A lot of people don’t care for suicide. Even if all the critics, all your friends, even your wife and lovers say, hey, fella, you’re no poet, you can still, in the secret chambers of your heart, say, what do they know? But I think that’s a pretty desperate situation. No doubt many people are in it.
The Confessions Of Leonard Cohen by Stephen Williams (Toronto Life: September, 1980). Photo taken November 1980 by Alberto Manzano.