“I like to hear anybody’s story. The people whose stories I like to hear are people who have gone right down the line for it in some way.” Leonard Cohen

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How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns – Interview With Leonard Cohen Presented By John McKenna. RTE Ireland, May 9 & 12, 1988). Originally posted November 3, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Who will read me in later years / Will all my songs be lost” Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen’s handwritten lines from one of his notebooks at University of Toronto’s Fisher Library.1 Photo used in graphic atop this post taken by Andi Gombasi

“Oh my, it breaks your heart!” Bev

A special thanks goes to Bev, who, In a comment to a post about identifying a photo, alerted me to these words by Leonard Cohen, writing

It wasn’t the photo so much that caught my eye but Leonard’s note book, especially these words,”who will read me in later years, will all my songs be lost”……Oh my, it breaks your heart!

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  1. A legend dies: U of T’s Fisher Library is home to nearly 100 boxes of Leonard Cohen’s letters, manuscripts by Veronica Zaretski (U of T News: November 11, 2016) []

“We’re all crazy about girls. But at 15 everything was in my imagination … I think my vices developed later, slowly” Leonard Cohen On His Interest In Women

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My interest in women wasn’t unique, we all shared it. We were starved. The atmosphere was pretty repressive. It wasn’t like today; you didn’t sleep with your girlfriend. It wasn’t an ideology, I didn’t feel rebellious, I just wanted to embrace someone. We felt very alone, you wanted to embrace someone in the dark. We weren’t more starved than the others, we were all desperate. How can it be otherwise? I am totally normal. We’re all crazy about girls. But at 15 everything was in my imagination, our experience was limited. A kiss in the back of a car. I think my vices developed later, slowly (laughs)…
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Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen, quoted in Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Throat Culture magazine, 1992). Note: Originally posted August 1, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“This is a quarrel between brothers… That has to be reconciled, in a much more imaginative way that either is approaching it today” Leonard Cohen On The Arab–Israeli Conflict (1988)

Cohen once said, “In any crisis in Israel I would be there.” Is that still true?

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Well, a saying I now have is ‘I can’t stand idly by my brother’s blood.’ It’s not political as such but my feelings about this whole thing, if anybody really has the time or interest in what I think about the thing, is there in Book Of Mercy. And it’s in prayer… ‘Israel, and you who call yourself Israel, and every nation chosen to be a nation, none of these lands is yours, all of you are thieves of holiness, all of you are at war with mercy… has Mercy made you wise? Will Ishmael declare, we are in debt forever? Therefore the lands belong to none of you, the borders do not hold. The law will never serve the lawless…’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

And yet, irrespective of how timeless one hopes prayer or poetry can be, that book was published in 1984. Has Cohen’s perspective been in any way altered by what is happening in Israel today?

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I feel the same. These are brothers. This is Ishmael and Israel. This is a quarrel between brothers, these are two peoples who have legitimate right to the same piece of land. That has to be reconciled, in a much more imaginative way that either is approaching it todayquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Read Leonard Cohen’s exclusive interview with Hot Press from 1988 by Joe Jackson (Hot Press: 11 Nov 2016)

“The whole thing is designed to prevent a disaster” Leonard Cohen on arranging songs around his voice (1972)

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The arrangements are built around my voice to give some sort of structure and tonal variation because my voice gets a bit monotonous. In fact the whole thing is designed to prevent a disaster.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Have You Heard The One About Lenny In The Sandwich Bar? by Andrew Tyler. Disc: September 2, 1972. Originally posted Oct 21, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric