“That’s why I speak in my songs about marriage – because I believe that any human being who acquires that commitment is someone with an authentic monastic spirit.” Leonard Cohen

In Cohen’s songs there are repeated allusions to marriage.

Leonard Cohen: Last year I was traveling in the service of a monk [Roshi], carrying his luggage. We went to several monasteries in America, and I remember he once told the monks of a Trappist monastery that the life they led was very easy in their setting. To know what a hard, difficult life was, they had to know what marriage was. In their environment, it was very easy to get up at three in the morning and pray. But leading a life of commitment with another person was the most difficult thing in this world. It is in marriage that a man is tested, where his manhood, his dignity is proved. That’s why I speak in my songs about marriage – because I believe that any human being who acquires that commitment is  someone with an authentic monastic spirit.

Are you married?

Leonard Cohen: I live with a woman [Suzanne Elrod]

And do you do it in the spirit you’re talking about?

Leonard Cohen: Yes, although I think it’s very difficult. Anyway, it’s worth trying.

Leonard Cohen Words And Silences by Constantino Romero (1974). Republished in Rockdelux 356 (December 2016). Via Google Translate.

Q: Are you still so eager to write if… your appetite for love is satiated? Leonard Cohen: “Marianne and I didn’t think of it as a love story. We just thought we were living together.” Leonard Cohen On Love And Creativity

Are you still so eager to write if some of your desire, your appetite for love is satiated?

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Marianne and I didn’t think of it as a love story. We just thought we were living together. I understand the belief that if your desire for love is satisfied, you no longer have the motivation to write, but I’ve never felt that way, it’s not a mechanism that applies to me. If anything, it was the opposite: there was a woman, she had a child, meals on the table, order in the house and harmony. It was precisely the moment to start one’s own work. I could work a lot because of Marianne, I wrote Beautiful Losers and more. She brought tremendous order to my life. [Interviewer: A material order, in the way of everyday life?] If you want to call that material, okay. But the material is the spiritual, that’s the real order, there is no other. When there is food on the table, when the candles are lit, when you wash the dishes together and when you put the child in bed together – that’s the order, that’s the spiritual order, there is no other.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: Aug 21, 1991). Via online translation. Originally posted Feb 22, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“The first music I remember was the liturgy in the synagogue and the Russian songs of my mother…” Leonard Cohen On His Early Musical Influences

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The first music I remember was the liturgy in the synagogue and the Russian songs of my mother, who had grown up in Lithuania. After the war, I mostly listened to popular music: country, blues, the tunes from the jukebox in the French cafés in Montreal. The fact that French was the dominant language in Montreal made me aware that I belonged to a minority. Thus, I have come to appreciate the peculiarity and the beauty of my own language, English.
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Leonard Cohen

 

From ‘Gesprek met Leonard Cohen, de boeteprediker van de popmuziek; Het Oude Testament is mijn handboek’ [Talk with Leonard Cohen, the philosopher of pop music; the Old Testament is my guide] by Pieter Steinz, NRC: December 4, 1992. Photo “Leonard Cohen, 1988 01” by GorupdebesanezOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Credit Due Department: Contributed & translated by Anja Deelen

Q: And your religious position? Leonard Cohen: “I am neither more nor less virtuous than others. I believe that sin exists; in this I think I resemble the Catholics.”

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Leonard Cohen Words And Silences by Constantino Romero (1974). Republished in Rockdelux 356 (December 2016). Via online translation.

“And even today / I stop every scottie / to claim you back” Final Lines of To Tinkie from The Flame by Leonard Cohen

To Tinkie is a passage from The Notebooks section of The Flame by Leonard Cohen (background information at The Flame – Leonard Cohen’s Final Book). Tinkie was the Scottish Terrier Leonard called “the closest being to me during my childhood.”

The following excerpt is from Leonard Cohen’s 2001 interview with Stina Lundberg, The above photo of Tinkie, Esther Cohen (Leonard’s sister), & Leonard Cohen was contributed by Maarten Massa.

SL: Did you have a dog when you were little?

LC: Yes, I had a Scottie, Scottish terrier. His name was, my mother named him, Tovarich, “comrad”. We called him Tinkie.  And yes, a very – I guess the closest being to me during my childhood. The dog would sleep under my bed and follow me to school, and wait for me. So that was a great sense of companionship.

SL: Because you sometimes write about the dog.

LC: Well I have his picture on my dresser in Los Angeles. We loved that dog. My sister gave me his picture framed as a present.

SL: And what happened when he died?

LC: He died when he was about 13 years old, which is quite old for a dog. And he just asked to go out one night – you know how a dog will just go and stand beside the door? – so we opened the door, it was a winter night, and he walked out, and we never saw him again. And it was very distressing. I put ads in the newspaper, and people would say, “Yes, we have found a Scottie,” and you’d drive 50 miles and it wouldn’t be your Scottie. And we only found him in the springtime when the snow melted, and the smell came from under the neighbour’s porch. He’d just gone outside, and gone under the neighbour’s porch to die. It was some kind of charity to his owners.

“I’ve had people tell me that my records have made their lives not worth living.” Leonard Cohen

“We knew you could do it, Lenny”

A few weeks ago Cohen received in the mail a newspaper clipping from a South African newspaper, a story about a surgeon named Leonard Cohen who specializes in restoring severed limbs. Scrawled across the sheet was an inscription: “We knew you could do it, Lenny.”

Cohen told me about it in a bar several nights before, and we are laughing about it again. “You know,” I say, “you bring it on yourself, Leonard.”

“Yeah,” he says with a smile. “Yeah, I guess I do.”

Cohen relishes and takes with good humour the bleak proportions of his artistic persona – “I’ve had people tell me that my records have made their lives not worth living.”

From Conversations from a Room by Tom Chaffin. Canadian Forum: August/September 1983. Photo by Armando Fusco. Originally posted June 11, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“The genius of Phil [Spector] is to completely exhaust everyone and call on some special reserve that no one expects to locate and to manifest it.” Leonard Cohen

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The genius of Phil is to completely exhaust everyone and call on some special reserve that no one expects to locate and to manifest it. That is how he get the incredible energy. He frustrates the musicians for hours, refusing to let them play more than one or two bars, and then he lets them play.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: My album will be classic in 10 years by Mary Campbell. AP: Feb 1978.

“My songs are like documentaries… Some accuse me of being too poetic, but that’s how my imagination works, how I see things. I don’t try to write beautiful phrases.” Leonard Cohen

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My songs are like documentaries or reports. Some accuse me of being too poetic, but that’s how my imagination works, how I see things. I don’t try to write beautiful phrases.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen Words And Silences by Constantino Romero (1974). Republished in Rockdelux 356 (December 2016). Via Google Translate. Photo by Pete Purnell