Leonard Cohen’s death in November 2016 brought the curtain down ob a career spanning five decades. This posthumously published collection, compiled in the last few months of the author’s life, brings together his poems, writings and sketches, mainly from his later years. The first section of the book comprises sixty three poems that Cohen considered finished stand-alone pieces, This is followed by the lyrics section, containing the words to his last three albums, together with those he wrote for the Anjani Thomas album Blue Alert The final part has selections from his notebooks, running from his teenage years up to his death. In general, I feel the longer poems work the best with some of the shorter ones seeming a little inconsequential, but the lyrics make for profound and at times moving reading, and show exactly why his songs have enjoyed such longevity. Perhaps the most revealing part of the book though are his notebooks, some of which are reproduced in handwritten format, which give an intriguing window into his creative process. There’s also a poignant foreword by his son, Adam, who helped compile these writings. There’s an underlying sense throughout of the author wrapping up his life and looking back over his career, and after fourteen studio alums, two novels and nine previous poetry collections, this is certainly a very fitting epitaph to a great, enduring artist, one of the most important songwriters of his generation.
Length of Read:Medium
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Although this will perhaps primarily appeal to Cohen completists, there’s also plenty on offer here to interest the more casual fan of this iconic artist
One thing you’ve learned
On his last album, Cohen sang ‘You want it darker, we will kill the flame’. This is one fire that will never be extinguished.