Book of Longing
by Cohen, Leonard






Leonard Cohen is one of the great writers, performers, and most consistently daring artists of our time. Book of Longing is Cohen’s eagerly awaited new collection of poems, following his highly acclaimed 1984 title, Book of Mercy, and his hugely successful 1993 publication, Stranger Music, a Globe and Mail national bestseller. Book of Longing contains erotic, playful, and provocative line drawings and artwork on every page, by the author, which interact in exciting and unexpected ways on the page with poetry that is timeless, meditative, and at times darkly humorous. The book brings together all the elements that have brought Leonard Cohen’s artistry with language worldwide recognition.





Leonard Cohen's artistic career began in 1956 with the publication of Let Us Compare Mythologies. Since then, he has published eleven books, including two novels, The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966), and, most recently, Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs (1993). He has -made seventeen albums, the latest being Dear Heather (2004). Numerous tribute albums, in many languages, have celebrated his songs.





IRVING AND ME AT THE HOSPITAL

He stood up for Nietzsche
I stood up for Christ
He stood up for victory
I stood up for less

I loved to read his verses
He loved to hear my song
We never had much interest
In who was right or wrong

His boxer’s hands were shaking
He struggled with his pipe
Imperial Tobacco
Which I helped him light

KITCHEN TABLE

The same useless thoughts arise
but no one claims them —
Loneliness seizes the frame
and shakes away hope
but no one is hopeless
no one is lonely —
The intricate preparations
for the next moment
direct you
to read this now —
Surrendered to the One
who placed me here
I sit at the very table
where these songs began
some forty years ago —
busy as a bee
in the solitude

- Hydra, 1999






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