“Poetry is a verdict, not an intention” Leonard Cohen “But I wouldn’t take the matter too seriously”

Lizzie: As a writer of poetry, I come across a lot of people who ‘write poems’ and call themselves ‘poets’. I have always subscribed to something you wrote along the lines of “the title of poet is something that is bestowed by others and not something bestowed on oneself” and so have refused to call myself ‘poet’ and await, and await the bestowing!!

Dear Lizzie, I once said ‘poetry is a verdict, not an intention’ but I wouldn’t take the matter too seriously. We can call ourselves whatever we want.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Oct 16, 2001 Online Chat

“It can be tricky working in original genres.” Leonard Cohen

It can be tricky working in original genres. There aren’t really any other songs like this [Democracy]. You’re creating forms and it’s hard to know where to take them. So you say to the guitarist, Play it so it sounds like . . . what? There’s no real precedent. It’s hard for yourself too. You end up thinking, Is there really a song here? Does it actually exist? You’re constantly dealing with these doubts.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Leonard Cohen: Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe? by Adrian Deevoy. Q, 1991.

“Women! Any woman acquaintance is worth a poem.” Leonard Cohen On What Most Inspires Him


[Leonard Cohen] is a warm personality who is not afraid to comment on what inspires him most.

Women! Any woman acquaintance is worth a poem. Think about it: you find a girl, think she is exciting, but can’t seem to express yourself properly … The easiest way is to write your feelings down on paper.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Bård Oses intervju med Leonard Cohen by Linn Gjerstad [via Google Translate] (BA: March 26, 2012). From May 4, 1988 interview. Thanks to Dominique BOILE for the dancers logo (atop this post) which anchors the Leonard Cohen’s dedication of the I’m Your Man album to his romantic liaison, Dominique Issermann.

“You can’t listen to these words [from You Want It Darker] without thinking about the fact that Leonard Cohen was dying when he recorded them.” From 25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going – New York Times

This was hardly the first time that Cohen had drawn on his Judaism for his music. Though he had a complicated relationship with his religious inheritance, it provided a natural vocabulary for him; it was what he knew, and its stories of human suffering and, occasionally, redemption suited his poet’s pull toward the existential. But never before have Cohen’s biblical references felt so charged, so dark, so pointed. “Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name,” he sings. “Vilified, crucified, in the human frame. A million candles burning for the help that never came. You want it darker.” Then, echoing the words that Abraham spoke as he answered God’s command to sacrifice his only son: “Hineni, I’m ready, my Lord.”

From 25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going: You Want It Darker – Leonard Cohen by Jonathan Mahler (New York Times Magazine: Mar 9, 2017). The complete article is accessible at the link.

A 1993 Gallery: Leonard Cohen & Musicians On “Later With Jools Holland”

All the images in this gallery are screen captures from a video of Leonard Cohen and his musicians in a performance which took place May 12, 1993 and was taped for an episode of the “Later With Jools Holland” BBC program (broadcast May 14, 1993).


Identification Guide

Julie Christensen is the blonde backup singer. Perla Batalla, the other backup vocalist is positioned on the reader’s right. Most of the other individuals can be identified by their instruments:

Leonard Cohen – vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar
Perla Batalla – vocals
Julie Christensen – vocals
Bob Metzger – guitars, pedal steel guitar
Bob Furgo – keyboards, violin
Paul Ostermayer – keyboards, saxophone, flute
Bill Ginn – keyboards
Jorge Calderon – bass
Steve Meador – drums

Note: Originally Mar 12, 2013 posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric