“It was only when you walked away I saw you had the perfect ass… ” Leonard Cohen

It was only when you walked away I saw you had the perfect ass. Forgive me for not falling in love with your face or your conversation.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen
The Energy Of Slaves

Leonard Cohen On Sighting The Perfect Ass & Other Poems1
The Apollo in Glasgow: May 15, 1976
Video by Allan Showalter

The image atop this post is the back cover of The Energy Of Slaves (1972). Contributed by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted February 5, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. These poems are in the concert setlist:
    11. I did not know until you walked away…
    12. Come down to my room…
    13. A person who eats meat
    14. Valentina gave me four months…
    15. I know there is no such thing as hell or heaven…
    16. the 15-year old girls…
    17. The Music Crept by Us
    18. It’s Good to Sit with People… []

1957 Leonard Cohen: Poetry Recitations CD To Be Released Later This Year

Dominique BOILE alerts us to a CD Universe listing (also at Amazon) of a new CD to be released December 15, 2017. (The Japanese Tower site lists a release date of Nov 10, 2017)

When singer Leonard Cohen died in November 2016, the whole world mourned. He was a much loved Canadian singer, songwriter, musician, novelist and painter, whose work explored religion, politics, isolations, sexuality and personal relationships. He started writing poetry in the early 1950s and his first published book of poetry came out in 1956. He is probably best known for the music he started to record in the 1960s, but this collection of early recordings provides a fascinating insight into his modus operandi. Available here, for the first time, the listener is granted a rare glimpse into his creative process many years before he achieved fame and international respect.



  • For Wilf And His House (1955)
  • Beside the Shepherd (1956)
  • Poem (1955)
  • Lovers (1955)
  • The Sparrows (1955)
  • Warning (1956)
  • Les Vieus (1954)
  • Elegy (1955)

Note: These recordings are Leonard Cohen’s contributions to the Six Montreal Poets album released in 1957.

Hear Leonard Cohen Recite A Collection Of His Poems


Leonard Cohen | Master Poems | Collection of poetry readings by Leonard Cohen | 1957-1993

From “Six Montreal Poets”, 1957 1. For Wilf and His House – Beside the Shepherd – Poem – Lovers – The Sparrows – Warning – Les Vieux – Elegy From Dunn’s Progressive Jazz Parlour, Montreal, Canada, 8th April 1958 2. Gift From “Ladies and Gentlemen…Mr Leonard Cohen”, 1965 3. Island Bulletin – Prayer for Messiah – A Kite is a Victim – Passage from “The Favourite Game” (“Here is a movie…”) – Passage from “The Favourite Game” (“The park…”) – Disguises – Passage from “The Favourite Game” (“Just beyond the green…”) – Beneath My Hands – Twelve O’Clock Chant – The Genius On Hearing a Name Long Unspoken (fragment) – Three Good Nights (fragment) – Alexander Trocchi, Public Junkie, Priez pour Nous (fragment) – Hydra 1963 (fragment) – The Only Tourist In Havana Turns His Thoughts Homeward – The Music Crept by Us

From the YM-YWHA Hotel, New York, USA, 14th February 1966 4. You All in White – For E.J.P. 5. You Have the Lovers From “Canadian Poets 1”, 1966 6. What I’m Doing Here – You Have the Lovers – Now of Sleeping – Style – Two Went to Sleep – Nothing Has Been Broken – These Heroics

From WNEW-FM, New York, USA, 28th April 1985 7. In the Eyes of Men From an unknown TV documentary 8. My Secret Life

From KCRW-FM, Los Angeles, USA, 1993 9. Poem 10. How to Speak Poetry 11. Marita 12. This is My Voice – The Only Poem 13. We Cry Out From “The United States of Poetry”, 1996 14. Democracy

From the YM-YWHA Hotel, New York, USA, 14th February 1966 15. Reading from “Beautiful Losers”

From an unknown radio program 16. My Top Ten

“Let’s sing for nothing” Leonard Cohen’s Visitation Of Poetry – Previously Unlisted 1967 U Of Manitoba Appearance Reviewed

Published in the Winnipeg Free Press, January 14, 1967, A Visitation Of Poetry by Chester Duncan (Dept of English; University of Manitoba) – which reviews a Leonard Cohen 1967 U Of Manitoba appearance not listed in any Cohen database – begins on an auspicious note:

When Leonard Cohen appeared at the University of Manitoba recently to read and sing his poems, I felt that it was an occasion of great importance and significance.

He compares that appearance with one by Cohen three years earlier,1 describing Cohen, in the 1964 performance.

… charm[ing] and teas[ing] and whip[ping] a very large audience into a frenzy of approval and merriment

while the audience at the more recent appearance was

… fascinated like a snake before the concentration and dedication of his melancholy.

As the author concludes,

The poet has the  benefit of a life frequently distinguished by instincts completely non-utilitarian. And if even Love can make nothing happen, he must still “sing for nothing.”

The reference is to this Leonard Cohen poem from Parasites Of Heaven

Ah, what were the names I gave you
before I learned all names go the do-do way?
Darlin, Golden, Meadowheart

I’ve been walking in the far green
I’ve lost what all the leaves are called
Elm, Chestnut, Silver

O come here you, thou
Bring all thy, bring all thine
Far into the splinter let’s sing for nothing

Note: Originally posted July 12, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

  1. A poetry reading at Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – (University of Manitoba) dated only by month and year (Feb 1964) at CohenLive, which lists no Cohen appearances in Winnipeg in 1966 or 1967 []

Animated Video: A Kite Is A Victim By Leonard Cohen, Read by Paul Hecht


In the animation [below],  from the NFB’s 1977 “Poets on Film No. 1,” Canadian actor Paul Hecht reads Cohen’s poem “A Kite is a Victim,” from his 1961 collection The Spice-Box of Earth… “A Kite is a Victim” is about process, but it’s a formal meditation, focused on the image of the kite, which flutters through each of the four stanzas in metaphors of taming, capturing and nurturing language, then letting it go, hoping to be made “worthy and lyric and pure.” The pace of Hecht’s reading, the piano score behind his voice, and the vibrant color of the hand-drawn animation makes this a very different experience of Cohen’s writing than “Poen.”

Excerpt from The Poetry of Leonard Cohen Illustrated by Two Short Films by Josh Jones (Open Culture: July 18th, 2013)

A Kite Is A Victim By Leonard Cohen
Read by Paul Hecht