THE FLAME

Life & Style Weekend - - RELAX -

Leonard Cohen, with in­tro­duc­tion by Adam Cohen CANON­GATE, RRP $40

The Flame is an ap­pro­pri­ate ti­tle for this col­lec­tion of po­ems and note­book frag­ments be­cause Leonard Cohen’s lit­er­ary life has burned brightly since his first book of po­etry, Let Us Com­pare Mytholo­gies, was pub­lished in 1956. This vol­ume con­tains not only Cohen’s fi­nal po­ems but frag­ments from his note­books, in­clud­ing self-por­traits from the years be­fore his death in 2016 at 82. Although Cohen was re­garded as a pes­simistic pur­veyor of gloom, he was a ro­man­tic who never stopped cel­e­brat­ing his joy in the hu­man con­di­tion. And he could make it rhyme: “I pray for courage / At the end / To see death com­ing / As a friend.” Son Adam says in the fore­word his fa­ther’s only re­gret was that he should have “stayed stead­fast to the recog­ni­tion that writ­ing was … his truest pur­pose”. But then we wouldn’t have had all that mu­sic. BARRY REYNOLDS VER­DICT: Lenny’s last laugh

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