Cohen tends the words he uses more than Dylan does; his language is strange and abstruse at times, but beyond the oddity of the existences he sets upon his canvas there exist an element that is persuasive, alluring, masterfully wrought with a writing, from the page alone, that blends all the attendant aspects of Cohen’s stressed worldliness– sexuality, religious ecstasy, the burden of his whiteness– into a whole , subtly argued, minutely detailed, expertly layered with just so many fine, exacting touches of language. His songs, which I fine the finest of the late 20th century in English–only Dylan, Costello, Mitchell and Paul Simon have comparable bodies of work–we find more attention given to the effect of every word and phrase that’s applied to his themes, his story lines. In many ways I would say Cohen is a better lyricist than Dylan because he’s a better writer over all. Unlike Dylan, who has been indiscriminate for the last thirty years about the quality of work he’s released, there is scarcely anything in Cohen’s songbook you would characterize as a cast-off.
Bob Dylan Is Not A Poet by Ted Burke (Ted Burke – Like It Or Not: September 6, 2007)