I’ve just written a book called The Energy Of Slaves, and in there I say that I’m in pain. I don’t say it in those words because I don’t like those words. They don’t represent the real situation. It took 80 poems to represent the situation of where I am right now. That to me totally acquits me of any responsibility I have of keeping a record public. I put it in the book. It’s carefully worked on, you know. It’s taken many years to write and it’s there. It’ll be between hard covers and it’ll be there for as long as people want to keep it in circulation. It’s careful and controlled and it’s what we call art… It’s my work, that’s all. And part of the nature of my work is to reach people. I mean I’m not very interested in playing to empty halls. My work is to make songs and poems and I use whatever material I have at hand. I don’t have the luxury of a vast range of material. I’m not entirely happy with the subject matter. I’d like to broaden my subject matter but as it is right now I only work with what is given. I am interested in this book’s reception. I’m interested in how it will be received almost more than any other book, because I have the feeling that by making it public I may be making a mistake. I hope that I will find that this gnawing feeling is wrong or that I have misread it.
From Famous last words from Leonard Cohen by Paul Saltzman (Macleans: June 10, 1972)
Note: Compare with Leonard Cohen On The “Difference Between Life And Art”