Aside from his classics such as ‘So Long, Marianne’ and ‘Suzanne’, Leonard Cohen’s penchant for showing his admiration for love and the difficulties it can often bring, far exceeds his guitar. Along with being an accomplished and universally respected musician, Cohen is a decorated poet and novelist. Having published his first collection of poems in 1954 in a magazine, followed two years later with his first book of poetry Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956). Having published poetry over a span of six decades, along with consistently releasing music and touring, his desire to create and share is second to none. Having penned his fair share of love songs while living on the scenic Greek Island of Hydra, with his love Marianne; whom Leonard recently wrote his final letter for shortly before she passed, inspiration to write about the beautiful things in life was never short.
Having first heard of Leonard Cohen through perhaps his most famous song ‘Suzanne’, I never opted to look further into this artist and listen to more of his music up until a few years later when I heard a cover of ‘Bird on a Wire’ by Father John Misty, and thought it best to devote a bit of time into listening to more of his songs. Upon becoming immediately hooked on his lyrics and minimalist approach, I did a quick Google search to find out more about him only to find he’s had thirteen books of poetry published. Just like his songs, his poetry deals with themes like heartache, longing for someone, and being caught up in the moment of love and not wanting it to end. I’ve selected a few poems that I like from some of the books I’ve bought. I hope you too find them useful. Poems featured are from ‘Poems 1956 – 1968’ and ‘Book of Longing’.