“I tried to stop, but my relationship with writing is like that of a bear running into a hive – he can’t resist the temptation to steal honey…” Leonard Cohen

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I tried to stop, but my relationship with writing is like that of a bear running into a hive — he can’t resist the temptation to steal honey. It happens continually. It’s delightful and it’s horrible, but, although I’m clumsy and aching, I’m up to my neck in it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From The Virtueless Monk by Elena Comelli (La Nazione, Florence, November 25, 1998. Translated by Andrea Della Rossa) Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles. The image atop this post is the back cover of Flowers for Hitler by Leonard Cohen. Photo by Sophie Baker (Jonathan Cape: 1973)Originally posted October 5, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

The Miracle Of The Storks: Leonard Cohen Talks About His Breakdown & Recovery After Writing Beautiful Losers

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I had a pretty rough time with Beautiful Losers, but I didn’t know it. I broke down after it was over… When I finished Beautiful Losers I was living on Hydra. I went to another island and when I wanted to come back I hired a boatman to get me to another, bigger boat that was headed that way. It was about 110 degrees, very hot sun. The fisherman said to me, ‘You’d better come in under the tarp.’ I said no. He said, ‘Sea Wolf, huh?’ When I got back to Hydra I couldn’t get up the stairs to my house. They got a donkey and took me up. I went to bed and I couldn’t eat for 10 or 15 days. They finally called a doctor and I was hallucinating and going crazy and went down to 116 pounds and, you know, a breakdown of some kind. But that seemed right: I’d been working pretty hard and taking speed. I’d had a sunstroke, obviously. And I’d just finished this book. The day the storks came to the island was the day I recovered. They stop over and land on their way to Africa, or maybe coming back from Africa; they nest on the highest buildings, which are usually churches. So there’s a curious feeling; they come in and sit on the churches and leave the next morning. They just spend one night. And the morning they left I recovered, I stood up and I addressed the people of my family and it was a miracle. The miracle of the storks. [laughter] quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988. Photo by Iglesia_de_San_Isidoro._Cigüeñas_en_el_campanario.jpg: Mr. Ticklederivative work: Snowmanradio (talk) – Iglesia_de_San_Isidoro._Cigüeñas_en_el_campanario.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

“I couldn’t get a date… I think it’s always like that. It’s never delivered to you.” Leonard Cohen On His Reputation As A 1960s “Intellectual Sex Symbol”

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It’s so curious because I couldn’t get a date. I couldn’t find anybody to have dinner with. By the time that first record came out, which rescued me, I was already in such a shattered situation that I found myself living at the Henry Hudson Hotel on West 57th Street, going to the Morningstar Cafe on 8th Ave, trying to find some way to approach the waitress and ask her out. I would get letters of longing from around the world, and I would find myself walking the streets of New York at three in the morning, trying to strike up conversations with the women selling cigarettes in hotels. I think it’s always like that. It’s never delivered to you.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From The Loneliness of The Long-Suffering Folkie By Wayne Robins (Newsday – Long Island, November 22, 1992.).  Originally posted Sep 5, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Some of the songs [on Popular Problems] came together with shockingly alarming speed. But usually I take a long, long time − partly because of addiction to perfection, partly just sheer laziness.” Leonard Cohen

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It’s taken this long for (‘A Street’) to find that path of expression. On the other hand, songs like ‘You Got Me Singing’ and ‘Did I Ever Love You,’ those were written very quickly. Some of the songs came together with shockingly alarming speed. But usually I take a long, long time − partly because of addiction to perfection, partly just sheer laziness.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen on the Inner Workings of His New Album ‘Popular Problems’ by Todd Aaron Jensen. Bio: Dec 1, 2014.

“I feel myself a very minor writer… I’ve taken a certain territory… and I’ve tried to maintain it and administrate it with the very best of my capacities” Leonard Cohen

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I feel myself a very minor writer. You know, I’ve taken a certain territory, and I’ve occupied it, and I’ve tried to maintain it and administrate it with the very best of my capacities. And I will continue to administrate this tiny territory until I’m too weak to do it. But I understand where this territory is.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From the transcript of a BBC Radio 1 programme about Leonard Cohen, broadcast Sunday 7/8/94. Originally posted Oct 23, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Hear Leonard Cohen Comment On “Have I myself been commercialized?”

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Each person here at this table is a victim of the commercialization of life. I’m sure I haven’t escaped. But I can say one thing – I have been tempted by the money. I have been tempted by the glory. I don’t think there is any man that can escape those temptations. But I feel that I have not put out any songs that were designed to exploit the commercial market.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen Interview, Vienna 1976

Credit Due Department: Photo by Pete Purnell.

Note: Originally posted August 29, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I used [my guitar] as a courting procedure. Probably I got down on my knees to serenade a girl. I was shameless in those days.” Leonard Cohen 1966

Is the World (or Anybody) Ready for Leonard Cohen? by Jon Ruddy. Maclean’s: October 1, 1966. Photo Credit: Henry Sotheran Ltd. Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“One of the images I had of myself came from reading Chinese poetry… There was a kind of solitary figure in some of those poems by Li Po and Tu Fu. A monk sitting by a stream.” Leonard Cohen On The Foreshadowing Of His Time As A Zen Monk


It is often said that Cohen is hard to define. There’s Cohen, the son of a prominent Montreal clothier and the grandson of a Jewish scholar. Cohen, the law-school dropout. Cohen, the novelist, the poet, the songwriter. Cohen, the sexual bad boy who becomes a monk. But he disagrees.

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I always felt it was of one piece. 1 never felt I was going off on a tangent. Mainly because I think we develop images of ourselves quite early on, and certainly one of the images I had of myself came from reading Chinese poetry at a very young age. There was a kind of solitary figure in some of those poems by Li Po and Tu Fu. A monk sitting by a stream. There was a notion of solitude, a notion of deep appreciation for personal relationships, friendships, not just love, not just sensual or erotic or the love of a man or a woman, but a deep longing to experience and to describe friendship and loss and the consequences of distance. So those images in those poems had their effect, and thirty years later, I found myself in robes and a shaved head sitting in a meditation hall. It just seemed completely natural.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From He Has Tried in His Way to Be Free by Sarah Hampson (Lion’s Roar: Nov 1, 2007). Find more information about these Chinese poets at Li Po & Tu Fu.