Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen is arguably the best-known and most popular Canadian poet of the 20th century, and is also a successful novelist (The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers) and recording artist. He was born in Montreal, in 1934, studied at McGill University, and met Louis Dudek and Irving Layton, two presiding spirits for his work, there. He has since travelled widely, living in Greece, New York, and more recently, in California. As a singer-songwriter he has composed and performed many often-covered, classic songs, collected on many albums, such as Various PositionsI’m Your Man and The Future. His first collection of poems was published in 1956, Let Us Compare Mythologies. His most recent collection of poems is Book of Longing (2006), from which these three poems are taken, the first new poetry book by Leonard Cohen since Book of Mercy (1984). First published in 2006 by McClelland and Stewart, Book of Longing contains 167 previously unpublished poems and drawings, mostly written at a Zen monastery on Mount Baldy in California, where Cohen lived from 1994 to 1999, and in India, which he visited regularly during the late 1990s. Cohen’s witty, learned, bohemian manner, inflected with the cool savoir faire of Montreal’s St. Laurent district (The Main), has given Anglo-Quebec poetry one of its dominant styles.

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