From “After the Wipe-Out, A Renewal” by Sandra Diwa. The Ubyssey (the student newspaper of the University of British Columbia): February 3, 1967. Photo credt: York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, Photographer: John Sharp, ASC01707. Originally posted Jun 18, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
I never thought of myself as a musician or a writer. I just happened upon these instruments, and I’ve used them in the most direct and immediate way just to produce a setting for something I have to say. What I have to say is not based on any particular idea, but just on an urgency.
Leonard Cohen: Pondering His Past and ‘The Future’ by Scott Crawford (Intermission, Stanford Daily: April 8, 1993). Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
I don’t feel it [the depression] was necessarily the engine of the activity. It’s anguish. It’s a pain in the ass. On the contrary, I find my capacity to concentrate enhanced without that background of horror.
The Prince of Prurience and Loss by John Leland, GQ: Nov 2001.
A summary of information about Leonard Cohen’s depression can be found at Leonard Cohen’s Depression, Its (Failed) Medical Treatment, & Its Resolution. All posts about Leonard’s depression are collected at Depression & Leonard Cohen,
These times are very difficult to write in because the slogans are really jamming the airwaves – it’s something that goes beyond what has been called political correctness. It’s a kind of tyranny of posture. Those ideas are swarming through the air like locusts. And it’s difficult for the writer to determine what he really thinks about things
From ‘I’m blessed with a certain amnesia’ by Jian Ghomeshi (The Guardian: 9 July 2009). Photo by Rama (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons. Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
I tend to get shattered as I bring a project to completion. I have to discard versions of myself, and version of the songs, until I can get to a situation where I can defend every word, every line. But that place often involves a real shattering of equanimity, or of balance…I have to go to this naked and raw place. And it usually involves the breakdown of my personality, and I flip out … I can’t go into crowds, I don’t want to leave my house, I don’t want to leave my room, I don’t want to answer the phone, all my relationships collapse.
Leonard Cohen, speaking about his efforts on The Future album, quoted in The Loneliness of The Long-Suffering Folkie By Wayne Robins (Newsday: November 22, 1992.). Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
I feel most comfortable when I think of myself as the leader of a government-in-exile. Sometimes I like to think of myself that way. It gives me a position that I can work from. It is not whether I take it seriously or not seriously, we are not speaking about a rational operation. It is just that one feels that one can embody the unspoken aspirations of both oneself and the people you know as somebody who takes responsibility for the predicament, and presents not a solution but an approach. That leads you to some interesting kinds of positions.
Leonard Cohen, Personal Interview with Winfried Siemerling. 2 November 1990, North York. Unpublished. Quoted in Interior Landscapes and the Public Realm: Contingent Mediations in a Speech and a Song by Leonard Cohen by Winfried Siemerling. Canadian Poetry: No. 33, Fall/Winter, 1993. Originally posted May 22, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Q: What is your opinion on the proposition that ‘the visions of poets may teach those who do not want to know it that there is more in shadow than in light?’
I don’t think the poet has a mission. I think that activity more appropriately applies to the priest, the teacher, the politician, and the warrior. As my friend Layton wrote: ‘Whatever else, poetry is freedom.’ It seems a very aggressive proposition to teach someone something they don’t want to learn.