“It’s strange how that song [Suzanne] provokes discussion, it wasn’t really the intention, it’s just a song. I don’t mean the song to be anything but a song.” Leonard Cohen

From The Strange, Sad and Beautiful World of Leonard Cohen By Andrew Furnival. Petticoat: December 30, 1972. Originally posted Oct 21, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“There’s the Sailors’ Church, that’s a Montreal feeling, a Montreal landscape, and when I got the fact that it was [Suzanne] who brought me down there, I was able to find a spine for the song.” Leonard Cohen

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Much of the song [Suzanne] had been written, but the focus was missing until Suzanne brought me to this warehouse where she was living, then a lot of the imagery came together. I found a focus for it because I love that part of the city. There’s the Sailors’ Church, that’s a Montreal feeling, a Montreal landscape, and when I got the fact that it was she who brought me down there, I was able to find a spine for the song. Then the second verse — ‘Jesus was a sailor’ — people feel Montreal is the Jerusalem of the north. People who were brought up there have this sense of a holy city, a city that means a lot to us. So, I was able to find a place for that second verse between those two verses about Suzanne and to give it that religious quality that the song has, which is the quality of Montreal.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From The Stranger Music of Leonard Cohen by William Ruhlmann. Goldmine: Feb 19, 1993.

Credit Due Department: Photo of the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, known as the Sailors’ Church, by Sally Hunter.

Leonard Cohen Lists Possible Responses To “For You’ve Touched Her Perfect Body With Your Mind:” “You say ‘Yeah, that’s the way it is,’ or you puke.”

Perhaps your most famous line is, “For you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind” from “Suzanne.” Is it special to you?

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People have quoted that a lot. It’s one of those lines where you either say, ‘Yeah, that’s the way it is,’ or you puke.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabotage Times. Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview).

“The experience [of a song]…like that Jesus verse in ‘Suzanne’, everyone knows what that means, but nobody can say what it means – And it’s that kind of event that I’m interested in.” Leonard Cohen

a182762Cohen Down The Road By Karl Dallas, Melody Maker, May 22, 1976. Found at Reality Now!. Photo Credit: Roloff Beny / Library and Archives Canada / PA-196331

“Writing [Suzanne] was a sheer act of desperation — of a desperado” Leonard Cohen


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Had I not written ‘Suzanne’ presumably I would be broke and starving, as I was then. At thirty-two or thirty-four, whichever I was when I wrote it, I couldn’t pay my grocery bills, I couldn’t pay the rent, and I had a woman and child to support. Writing that song was a sheer act of desperation — of a desperado.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From “Yakety Yak” by Scott Cohen (1994). Originally posted Dec 2, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“If the thing is authentic you tune into it immediately. You embrace it immediately. It includes you.” Leonard Cohen On Instinctively Resonating With Songs

I used to listen to that song [Suzanne] all the time. I didn’t fathom it at all but you’re saying I understood it simply because I enjoyed it instinctively.

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Yes. If the thing is authentic you tune into it immediately. You embrace it immediately. It includes you. That’s what I mean to say. The song also includes you because it’s really authentic. Afterwards you can say why it included you, but that’s not so important.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Interview / Leonard Cohen By Alan Twigg. Essay Date: 1979, 1984, 1985. ABC Bookworld.

Leonard Cohen On The Role Poetry Played In Writing Suzanne: “That’s the method with which you can get the accuracy”

So where did the poetry come in [in writing Suzanne]?

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That’s my trade. That’s what I know how to do. And it’s not that I choose to do it but it seems that’s the method with which you can get the accuracy. Sometimes you hit it, all too rarely, but sometimes you hit it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Cohen Down The Road By Karl Dallas, Melody Maker, May 22, 1976. Found at Reality Now!

Note: Originally posted Jan 21, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“When you’re writing out of the total embrace of the experience of the emotion of the moment, what comes out … is really authentic” Leonard Cohen

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When an experience is embracing or total you don’t know who you are. When you jump into a pool of really cold water, when you hit that water there’s no you. [Interviewer: How often is your writing a dive into cold water?] From time to time. There is no explanation for it. It’s free from an explanation. It’s like explaining the kiss you give your wife. you can explain it from a sociological point of view, from an erotic point of view, from all kinds of points of view. but it really doesn’t have anything to do with that moment of the embrace. You can speak about it, but it’s just a kind of gossip. When you’re writing out of the total embrace of the experience of the emotion of the moment, what comes out of there is really authentic. People ask what does that song, ‘Suzanne,’ really mean? The people who lay back and are ravished by the song know exactly what it means.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Interview / Leonard Cohen By Alan Twigg. Essay Date: 1979, 1984, 1985. ABC Bookworld.