Hear Classic 1988 Leonard Cohen Interview: How the Heart Approaches What it Yearns

Shure_mikrofon_55S-700This is an extraordinary interview that includes this quotation that I consider the touchstone of Leonard Cohen’s perspective:

That’s what it’s all about. It says that none of this – you’re not going to be able to work this thing out – you’re not going to be able to set – this realm does not admit to revolution – there’s no solution to this mess. The only moment that you can live here comfortably in these absolutely irreconcilable conflicts is in this moment when you embrace it all and you say ‘Look, I don’t understand a fucking thing at all – Hallelujah! That’s the only moment that we live here fully as human beings.

The following description is from Leonard Cohen talks to RTÉ in 1988 at the RTE site:

From the RTÉ archives: Kildare-born novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist and former RTÉ radio producer John MacKenna made two feature programmes in the RTÉ Radio Centre with Leonard Cohen in 1988, entitled ‘How the Heart Approaches What it Yearns’. Together, they offer a remarkable insight to Cohen’s life and work. Below, you can listen to them both in full. (From Leonard Cohen talks to RTÉ in 1988)

Note: A transcript of this broadcast is available at Transcript: 1988 RTE (LeonardCohenFiles)

The first programme ‘How the Heart Approaches What it Yearns’ is entitled ‘Isaac to Joan of Arc’ in which Cohen discusses his interest in and attitude to heroic figures in history. (From Leonard Cohen talks to RTÉ in 1988)

Programme 2 is entitled ‘If I Have Been Untrue’  and considers songs about people in the street. (From Leonard Cohen talks to RTÉ in 1988)

Credit Due Department: Photo atop this post “Shure mikrofon 55S” by Holger.EllgaardOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Marissa Nadler Explains Why Leonard Cohen’s Songs From A Room Inspires Her + Her Cover Of Seems So Long Ago, Nancy


From Marissa Nadler on 9 Albums That Inspire Her by Vinyl Me, Please (Vinyl Me, Please: May 16, 2016)

Songs From A Room by Leonard Cohen: I’m a die-hard Leonard Cohen fan so I could put any of his albums on this list. Not too many people can beat the one-time Poet Laureate of Canada in the lyric department. This album is particularly sonically spare and leaves space for his poetry to shine. His classical fingerpicked guitar is the perfect accompaniment, save for the jaw-harp warbling here and there on a few songs and some other tasteful tinges of color.

“Seems So Long Ago Nancy” has been one of my favorite songs, period, for years. It’s my go to on this album, though it’s a great listen from start to finish.

“And now you look around you,
see her everywhere,
many use her body,
many comb her hair.
In the hollow of the night
when you are cold and numb
you hear her talking freely then,
she’s happy that you’ve come,
she’s happy that you’ve come.”

From “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy”

Marissa Nadler’s Cover of “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy” By Leonard Cohen