“These poems [in Book Of Longing] were written in the midst of all this phony talk about brotherhood, new visions, and new possibilities” Leonard Cohen


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These poems [in Book Of Longing] were written in the midst of all this phony talk about brotherhood, new visions, and new possibilities when the hustlers had already moved in and taken over the revolution and you know, this stuff was being sold in head shops and it had pretty well evaporated.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen’s The Future Interview by Bob Mackowitz. Transcript from a radio special produced by Interviews Unlimited for Sony Music, 1992.

“Only when you have children are you forced to surrender thinking exclusively of yourself and worry about someone else. If you attempt to respond to a child, you can never think of yourself in the same way.” Leonard Cohen On The Impact Of Having Children

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Your children, Adam and Lorca, were born then. What was your reaction?

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Only when you have children are you forced to surrender thinking exclusively of yourself and worry about someone else. If you attempt to respond to a child, you can never think of yourself in the same way. You stop being the center of your drama, which becomes secondary in the light of your children’s demands, of their urgency. I immediately understood that the trap had slammed shut. [Laughs] There are many wonderful aspects, of course, the beauty is indisputable. But the destruction of the image you have of yourself is inevitable. There are many things I did not like about myself. I was very selfish, I only thought about myself. I did not accept the fact that other beings had a legitimate claim to my attention.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: Aug 21, 1991). Via Google Translate. Photo by GorupdebesanezOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

John Hammond: “You got it, Leonard.” Leonard Cohen: “I didn’t quite know whether he meant a contract or the ‘gift,’ but it certainly made me feel very good.”

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I sang him [John Hammond] six or seven songs. He didn’t say anything between them. At the end of those six or seven songs, he said, “You got it, Leonard.” I didn’t quite know whether he meant a contract, or the ‘gift,’ but it certainly made me feel very good.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen 1967

 

From The John Hammond Years: Interview with John Hammond & Leonard Cohen broadcast on BBC, Sept 20, 1986. Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles.Photo Credit: York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, Photographer: John Sharp: ASC01709.

DrHGuy Note: At the time, John Hammond was Columbia Records’ leading artist and repertory executive, having discovered and signed Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Aretha Franklin, and Bob Dylan. Hammond would later sign Bruce Springsteen to a recording contract. He also, of course, signed Leonard to Columbia Records, which would be his record label, except for Death Of A Ladies’ Man (Warner Brothers) and Various Positions, which Columbia initially rejected and was subsequently picked up by the independent label Passport Records (the album was finally included in the catalog in 1990 when Columbia released the Cohen discography on compact disc) for the rest of his life.

Note: Originally posted March 28, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“[Becoming a bohemian] was most charitably considered a phase the child would grow out of. But in my case, I didn’t grow out of it.” Leonard Cohen

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Becoming what they call a bohemian was not encouraged by families like my own. It was most charitably considered a phase the child would grow out of. But in my case, I didn’t grow out of it. It got worse and worse. And so I find myself in the sorry predicament…quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From 7 Reasons Leonard Cohen Is the Next-Best Thing to God by David Browne. Entertainment Weekly, Jan 8, 1993.

Leonard Cohen Advises His Son, Adam: “Man, you’re going to scrap your record? That’s an amateur move… It’s not about how you feel about the record. It’s how the songs make them feel.”

I was a deep, deep admirer of [my father, Leonard Cohen’s] melodies of – at first, you know, as a child, just the melodies – the generosity of the melodies. And then as I grew older, there was the complexities and the beautiful marshaling of language. And then you grow older, and then you sort of see – I remember I myself, you know, was making a record at the time. And I’d scrapped it. And I asked my father for counsel.

I said, Dad, you know, meet me. I really got to talk to you. I got to pick your brain. And we were sitting on the corner of Wilshire and La Brea, and I confessed to him that I was going to scrap this entire record and was expecting him to put his hand on my shoulder and say, like, that’s my boy – you know, altruistic values. Don’t ever stop, continue refining. But instead, he turned to me and said, man, you’re going to scrap your record? That’s an amateur move. I said, amateur move? He says, yeah, it’s not about how you feel about the record. It’s how the songs make them feel.

And at that moment, I realized that the love I had always had for his material wasn’t just about their construction, but it was also about their intentionality. He was holding up this baton that he had been given by the love he had for the people who came before him. And he was holding it up, and something about the canon of his work that – has always maintained that baton off the ground.

Excerpt from New Collection Showcases Leonard Cohen’s ‘Obsession With Imperfection’. Terry Gross Interviews Adam Cohen (NPR: October 8, 2018)

“The artist has no position other than the one that gets him through the day, as a coat-hanger. Yeats had that. He had a mad, metaphysical philosophy.” Leonard Cohen

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The artist has no position other than the one that gets him through the day, as a coat-hanger. Yeats had that. He had a mad, metaphysical philosophy. He heard voices and took them down. He hung his coat on them. Then he took out the hanger. He hung his coat on them, but the coat stands there. That cape shines by itself. It doesn’t need the support of some cranky Lego construction.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Maverick Spirit: Leonard Cohen by Jim O’Brien. B-Side Magazine: August/September 1993.

DrHGuy Note: “Coat-hanger” alludes to the recurrent line from The Apparitions by Yeats:

Because there is safety in derision
I talked about an apparition,
I took no trouble to convince,
Or seem plausible to a man of sense.
Distrustful of thar popular eye
Whether it be bold or sly.
Fifteen apparitions have I seen;
The worst a coat upon a coat-hanger.

And, this is not the first time Lego has been referenced on this site; see A Little Leonard: Leonard Cohen Miniatures

“To me, the critic is on trial at this point.” Leonard Cohen On Music Critics

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At this point, yes I am interested in the market journey of the product; but I’m very, very interested also in the mind of the reviewers, how they change over the decades, and how a man approaches new work. Whether he approaches it in a spirit of curiosity, charity, interest, or as a vehicle for his own self-aggrandizement, his own career. Whether he uses it as an opportunity to display humanism, or cruelty… I mean to me, the critic is on trial at this point.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: The Romantic in a Ragpicker’s Trade by Paul Williams (Crawdaddy, March 1975). Image is back cover of Energy Of Slaves. Originally posted October 19, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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“You’re going to have the occasional inspired individual who just uses the form in the way a poet uses a sonnet. They’re going to be able to create cultural value and create an intellectual and emotional delight” Leonard Cohen on Rock Critics


From Rebirth Of A Ladies’ Man by Steven Blush. Seconds No 22: June/July 1993. Thanks to Rike, who contributed this article.

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