RESPONDING TO THE WORLD
I first came across Leonard Cohen in the early months of 1968 when I was living on Baffin Island. Leonard Cohen had come to the music industry relatively late, having already established himself as a published novelist and poet. He turned his hand to music when his song Suzanne became a hit for Judy Collins and in 1967 he went into the studio to cut his debut album for Columbia.
Gerard Fannon, in his “Album Review: Songs of Leonard Cohen Columbia 1967” on 8 January 2009,1 wrote that: “The ten songs on the album are beautifully constructed. Few lyricists have since been able to wrestle with the ideas of love, loss and longing quite so intelligently, articulately and ambiguously as Leonard Cohen. He depicts a world entirely at the mercy of the chaos that arises from love and lust, mastery and submission, the supplicant and the worshipped. Though his words may seem lofty or pretentious, they convey a deep-rooted sense of humanity.”
“Many artists work their whole career, Fannon continues, “to create a work of such singular artistic vision as Songs of Leonard Cohen, and it is even more remarkable that Cohen achieved this the first time he set foot in a studio. Songs of Leonard Cohen remains an astonishing and enduring debut. -Ron Price with thanks to 1the internet site: Suite101.com
I heard you again when they gave you
a tribute at the Sydney Opera House in
2005, Leonard, and I noted some of what
you had to say about writing: you wanted
to respond to the beauty in the world; you
do not command your work--it commands
you; you’ll never untangle life’s mysteries;
you do not dwell on the past or the future.
Fame and wealth came so early to you
with your first book of poetry and novel
before you were thirty. My writing took
decades longer; I really only got going in
my fifties and had to unload my career as
a teacher and all that community work so
that I could free my spirit to respond to the
beauty around me and engage symbiotically
with my real-life master-piece....if it is that..
which became my epic, my opus, my oeuvre
by sensible and insensible degrees due to the
mysterious dispensations of Providence which,
as you say, Leonard, one never really untangles
nor the leaven which leavens the world of being
and furnishes the power by which the wonders of
the world--the sciences and the arts--are manifest.
16 February 2009
RESPONDING TO THE WORLD