Leonard Cohen on “being influenced continually by things I come across” – from King James Bible to instructions on cereal box

Interviewer: Are there other poets that you admire or have influenced you?

There’s so much excellent work. Every time I turn on the radio, I hear something good. Every time I pick up a magazine, I read some writing that is distinguished. My pace and viewpoint is being influenced continually by things I come across. You recapitulate the whole movement of your own culture. Occasionally we are touched by certain elaborate language, like the language we associate with the Elizabethan period, with the King James translation of The Bible, or Shakespeare. In certain moments you are influenced by very simple things. The instructions on a cereal package have a magnificent clarity. You’re touched by the writing in National Geographic — it represents a certain kind of accomplishment.

Leonard Cohen


From Leonard Cohen — Haute Dog by Mr. Bonzai (David Goggin). Music Smarts: July 10, 2010 (archived from 1988).

The Leonard Cohen Reading List

This is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

Note: Originally posted May 7, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric