A few weeks ago whilst perusing bookshelves in a Minnesota store, I came across a vast selection of works from this treasure of Canadian literature. Leonard Cohen’s poetry remain a strong influence on my own work and a pristine lesson in connectivity with words.
I was still in high school when I picked up a copy of “Stranger Music”, which is a collection of various works from Cohen. I gradually found more objectivity in my own writing as it developed.
Musically, there are a number of Cohen songs that are of lasting impact since they seem to turn up in film and television every so often. For a stellar tribute CD I highly recommend “Tower of Song”. This amazing compilation features moving versions of Cohen songs. Most notable are Jann Arden’s version of “If It Be Your Will”, Willie Nelson’s well-arranged cover of “Bird On A Wire” and my stand-out favourite, Tori Amos’s reading of “Famous Blue Raincoat”.
One of Cohen’s novels, “Beautiful Losers” is a masterpiece of Canadian fiction and in my top 10 books. I read this revolutionary novel in less than a week. I owe it to myself to read it again and will be picking it up soon to add to the other 4 or 5 books I am going through. (yes I have lost track of how many I have on the go).
In the 90’s Cohen’s influence also turned up in the music of Industrial Metal band Godflesh. Frontman Justin Broadrick openly borrowed directly from one of Leonard Cohen’s album titles and song lines, and used many of his works as inspiration for lyrics he would write.
Apparently Leonard Cohen still rises at 2:30 almost every morning and writes for a bit before going about the rest of his day.
Every creative genius seems to have some quirk about getting up early….