Co­hen’s BRIGHT FLAME

In po­ems, lyrics, note­books and more, the poet-song­writer’s voice lives on, Pat St. Ger­main writes.

The Delhi News-Record - - BOOKS -

— Suzanne, Chelsea Ho­tel #2, So Long, Mar­i­anne — and 1984 al­bum Var­i­ous Po­si­tions, which in­tro­duced his most fa­mous song, Hal­lelu­jah, edited from an 80-verse poem.

But Co­hen’s cre­ative resur­gence and world tours in his 70s in­tro­duced him to a new gen­er­a­tion.

The mid­dle sec­tion of The Flame is de­voted to the lyrics from four late al­bums; girl­friend An­jani Thomas’ Blue Alert (2006), which Co­hen pro­duced, and his last three al­bums, 2012’s Old Ideas, 2014’s Pop­u­lar Prob­lems and his 14th and fi­nal stu­dio al­bum, You Want It Darker, which was re­leased in Oc­to­ber 2016, just a few weeks be­fore his death.

It’s Darker’s lyrics, most notably from the song Leav­ing the Ta­ble and the ti­tle cut’s He­brew “Hi­neni, hi­neni ( here I am)

/ I’m ready, my lord,” make for an ap­pro­pri­ate swan song. But Adam Co­hen, who pro­duced You Want it Darker, an­nounced re­cently that a post­hu­mous al­bum is in the works.

Cana­dian pub­lisher McClel­land & Ste­wart has reis­sued eight pre­vi­ous books. The col­lec­tion in­cludes two nov­els — 1963’s The Favourite Game and 1966’s Beau­ti­ful Losers

— and six po­etry col­lec­tions: Co­hen’s first pub­lished work, Let Us Com­pare Mytholo­gies (1956), The Spice Box of Earth (1961), Flow­ers for Hitler (1964), Par­a­sites of Heaven (1966), The En­ergy of Slaves (1972) and Death of a Lady’s Man (1978).

Given his pro­lific na­ture, it seems likely that Co­hen’s re­main­ing po­ems and note­books will see the light of day at some point in the fu­ture. But if not, The Flame of­fers some fit­ting last words:

“To all of you / with whom I ate the fish / and clicked my glass / & never said a word / be­fore I go / I want to say hello / from the stranger / who lived among you.”

Leonard Co­hen, seen here in 1978, recorded his thoughts in note­books and on scraps of pa­per — his son, Adam, once found a stray one in the freezer.

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