In June 1984 I sat with Leonard Cohen in his room at the top of Toronto’s Sutton Place Hotel where we talked about his newest collection Book of Mercy. I confessed an uneasiness about love poems because of how often other kinds of love beyond the romantic are overlooked or are treated in a puerile fashion. Not so one poem coming three months after my son’s birth… Even more interesting is what he had to say about poetry and the shift away from traditional lyric to language poetry.
David Godkin’s YouTube Description
A few key quotes from Leonard Cohen’s interview follow:
- Book of Mercy can only be conceived as a book of prayer… it is different from my other books
- I’m comfortable [using] the name of God
- There are many superstitions afoot; one is that there is no soul.
- You only address the problem of soul when you feel that you’re losing it
- [Referring to Snow Is Falling by William Carlos Williams] That kind of accuracy is present on every page of Book of Mercy; it’s just about a landscape that’s unfamiliar
Photo by Daniel Bastida.