Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Leonard Cohen's poetry

In May, Leonard Cohen--described by Prince Charles as "wonderful" and Bono as "our Byron"-- published his first book of poems in 20 years. Tom Payne writes in the Telegraph about the poems and the poet.

A dozen of Cohen's poems are available here. Here's a sample:

You'd sing too

You'd sing too
if you found yourself
in a place like this
You wouldn't worry about
whether you were as good
as Ray Charles or Edith Piaf
You'd sing
You'd sing
not for yourself
but to make a self
out of the old food
rotting in the astral bowel
and the loveless thud
of your own breathing
You'd become a singer
faster than it takes
to hate a rival's charm
and you'd sing, darling
you'd sing too

Janet Maslin wrote about the collection for the New York Times:
Book of Longing has exceptional range. It is clear yet steamy, cosmic yet private, both playful and profound. And it is as soulful a credo as he has ever put on paper, which is what will keep on drawing me back to it. Not to mention its priorities. In ''Other Writers'' he describes both a great haiku writer and a monk who is a great teacher. Then he writes about a sexual adventure of his own. ''I've got to tell you, friends,'' says this poem ''I prefer my stuff to theirs.''
--Marshal Zeringue