Interviewer: Did these discoveries [e.g., Lorca & Yeats] immediately give you the desire to write?
Leonard Cohen: I wanted to respond to these poems. Every poem that touches you is like a call that needs a response. One wants to respond with one’s own story. Novels tend to make me silent. You live with a novel for awhile, you become, yourself, part of the novel. I never felt the need to respond to novels. But in poems, this distillation of language coincided with something in my own nature, in my soul: this kind of speed and agility.
Interviewer: Did you need to keep this passion to yourself or did you share it with others?
Leonard Cohen: Deep friendships are born on mutual interest. But the true relation between yourself and that which you love will always be private. Sometimes I take a book of one of my favorite poets… You sigh with satisfaction knowing you’re with someone that you love. You relax in the company of that soul. These relationships are wonderful, very nourishing.
From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: Aug 21, 1991). Via Google Translate. Photo from Montreal Star files. Photographer unknown. Library and Archives Canada.