“This is a painting that Suzanne [Elrod] did… That’s me playing guitar and being comforted by her. It’s the consolamentum, the kiss of peace.” Leonard Cohen

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From the Armelle Brusq documentary, Leonard Cohen, Spring 96, A Portrait.

More about the consolamentum can be found at Video – The Consolamentum of Leonard Cohen: An Introduction by David Peloquin

“That’s why I speak in my songs about marriage – because I believe that any human being who acquires that commitment is someone with an authentic monastic spirit.” Leonard Cohen

In Cohen’s songs there are repeated allusions to marriage.

Leonard Cohen: Last year I was traveling in the service of a monk [Roshi], carrying his luggage. We went to several monasteries in America, and I remember he once told the monks of a Trappist monastery that the life they led was very easy in their setting. To know what a hard, difficult life was, they had to know what marriage was. In their environment, it was very easy to get up at three in the morning and pray. But leading a life of commitment with another person was the most difficult thing in this world. It is in marriage that a man is tested, where his manhood, his dignity is proved. That’s why I speak in my songs about marriage – because I believe that any human being who acquires that commitment is  someone with an authentic monastic spirit.

Are you married?

Leonard Cohen: I live with a woman [Suzanne Elrod]

And do you do it in the spirit you’re talking about?

Leonard Cohen: Yes, although I think it’s very difficult. Anyway, it’s worth trying.

Leonard Cohen Words And Silences by Constantino Romero (1974). Republished in Rockdelux 356 (December 2016). Via Google Translate.

Leonard Cohen says Suzanne Elrod “outwitted me at every turn”

In 1969, Cohen met 24-year-old Suzanne Elrod, the woman with whom he would share his longest and most tempestuous relationship. (She was not the legendary “Suzanne” of his most famous song, though Cohen admits her name was part of the attraction.) The two formed what Cohen describes as a marriage, though it was never formalized. In the coming years, Cohen’s recordings (including Songs of Love and Hate and Death of a Ladies’ Man) were often-stark portrayals of the struggle for romantic faith amid sexual warfare and of hope in the face of cultural dissolution. Much of the work was about his stormy relationship with Elrod. (She “outwitted me at every turn,” he says.) They had two children together and separated in the mid-’70s.

From Brother of Mercy by Mikal Gilmore, Spin, March 2002

“I believed in him. He had moved people in the right direction, toward gentleness. But then I became very alone—the proof of the poetry just wasn’t there.” Suzanne Elrod On Leonard Cohen

Though Cohen had given Suzanne [Suzanne Elrod, the mother Of Adam and Lorca Cohen] a filigreed Jewish wedding ring, the union had never been formalized. The relationship became strained and about the time his mother died, in 1978, they separated. Suzanne took the children to live near Avignon, France. “I believed in him,” she says. “He had moved people in the right direction, toward gentleness. But then I became very alone—the proof of the poetry just wasn’t there.” Suzanne claims he is not living up to a child-support agreement he signed when they broke up. For his part, Cohen complains about Florida-bred Suzanne’s “Miami consumer habits. My only luxuries are airplane tickets to go anywhere at any time. All I need is a table, chair and bed.”

From The Face May Not Be Familiar, but the Name Should Be: It’s Composer and Cult Hero Leonard Cohen by Pamela Andriotakis & Richard Oulahan. People: January 14, 1980. Originally posted Nov 15, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“God, whenever I see her ass, I forget every pain that’s gone between us” Leonard Cohen On Suzanne Elrod After Their Breakup

From Leonard Cohen Says That to All the Girls by Barbara Amiel. Maclean’s: Sept 18, 1978. Now available at From the archives: Leonard Cohen and the Casanova paradox. Originally posted Jan 31, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Suzanne Elrod… mother of Leonard Cohen’s two children and a female of conspicuously sultry beauty and appetites, was on the phone [to Leonard] from the Greek island of Hydra making the one telephone call the police would permit her.”

Suzanne Elrod, 29, better known since meeting the Canadian poet in 1969 as Mrs. Leonard Cohen (though they’ve never been legally married), mother of Cohen’s two children and a female of conspicuously sultry beauty and appetites, was on the phone from the Greek island of Hydra making the one telephone call the police would permit her. Separated from Cohen, 44, for the past six months, Suzanne’s enjoyment of younger men and their rituals had become something of a sore point with her tradition-bound village neighbours on Hydra who loved Leonard and were protective of him—according to their own lights. There on the white-washed walls of Leonard’s old house, Suzanne had hung erotic woodcuts beside religious icons. Next to pictures of the saints, prints of Eastern rituals involving exaggerated and enthusiastic phalluses decorated the walls. “I warned Suzanne,” explained Cohen later, “the local cleaning lady would be offended.” The combination of an illustrated Kama sutra on the wall and the absence of the appropriate patriarch in bed was too much for the community. Suzanne and her young boy-friend-of-the-moment were arrested for drug possession after aggrieved villagers complained about “commotions” at the villa. Though all charges were dismissed against Suzanne when the case was investigated, the cost of lawyers, Greek justice and bail for the young man took close to $25,000 out of Cohen’s pocket. “These days I work to support my wife, my children and my responsibilities,” says Cohen.

From Leonard Cohen Says That to All the Girls by Barbara Amiel. Maclean’s: Sept 18, 1978. Now available at From the archives: Leonard Cohen and the Casanova paradox

Leonard Cohen Photos Used On First Editions Of Energy Of Slaves

Dominique BOILE offers these portraits of Leonard Cohen used as cover art for The Energy Of Slaves. The photo atop this post is the back cover of the English paperback edition (Jonathan Cape 1972).

The image immediately below is found on the back cover of the first UK edition of Energy Of Slaves by Leonard Cohen (1972 – Jonathan Cape Ltd, London).

Below is the cover from he first Canadian edition of Energy Of Slaves by Leonard Cohen (1972 – McClelland And Stewart Ltd., Toronto). This photo, taken by Suzanne Elrod in Mexico in 1972 was also used for the cover of the Leonard Cohen: Live Songs album.

Originally posted June 13, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On Suzanne Elrod: “She’s the mother of my children, a good mother to them, and whether or not we continue to live apart, this will always be my marriage.”

Leonard Cohen quoted six months after he and Suzanne Elrod, mother of Leonard’s children, Adam & Lorca, separated.

From Leonard Cohen Says That to All the Girls by Barbara Amiel. Maclean’s: Sept 18, 1978.