The voices in Nightingale

Leonard Cohen's recent albums - share your views with others!
Mark B.
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Postby Mark B. » Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:49 pm

In TNS and DH, LC is channeling Ramesh Balsekar. I really do not mean to be unkind but LC wrote far better songs before he became a Sage.

Mark
Tchocolatl
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Postby Tchocolatl » Thu Dec 30, 2004 3:15 am

Mark B. In Suzanne and Joan of Arc, just to pick those two, among others first songs, all was already there, in term of Sage lyrics.

Joe, this time I just could say that I have these notions you bring here through these interviews of AT and LC, tattooed all over me, soul, heart, and body for a long time. Even if it is easy to forget all about this in the turmoil of life sometimes.

For now, though, I am more occupied to shed light on the little window of free will we all have. Do I open up or do I stay close? Anjani said that if you follow your desire, etc, etc, but one has to accept to open up to desires. And to others. And to life. I am also very sensitive to the fact that counsciousness of all this is necessary in order to understand the process and to agree to be part of it. Well, at least, it helps.

Tom I enjoyed reading about your Romantic friend. If you have something in particular to recommand... I was struck myself by the similarity of the Italians of the Renaissance and LC, for many reasons.

As for romantic love, it is quiete a new phenomenon in History. Same thing regarding the "romantic" childhood.

:D
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"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

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tomsakic
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Postby tomsakic » Thu Dec 30, 2004 10:53 am

Yes, Tchocolatl, the invention of childhood is the modern invention as the romantic love I guess, last 150-200 years.
Rennaisance and Petrarch (! or can I keep saying Petrarca?), yes. I talked yesterday with one person more familiar with the US schools, she sais to me that Petrarca is barely mentioned there, the accent is on Dante, Milton, Shakespeare of course.

Romantic love - as far we now it today - it's source is in Petrarchist love poetry. Now, Petrarca's Laura is very similar to Dante's Beatrice, who also progresses from mundane to the divine love after the moment she dies (as Laura did in Petrarca's Canzoniere). But as I said the complete itinerary of love poetry tends to source from Petrarca and early Provencal troubadours and chansonniers. The word "Romantic" probably came to be connected with love and its description because of some characteristics of Romaticism like overflow of emotions, hypersensibility, pathetic, overreaction, deep feelings, grandiose connection between the earthly and the divine things, Nature and G-d. Remembre Goethe's Werther etc, plus English poets. So "it's romantic", you know, it's emotional, beautiful, like in novel or romances.
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Joe Way
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Postby Joe Way » Fri Dec 31, 2004 12:34 am

Hi Tom,

I think we are talking about many of the same things. The distinction that you see between Dante and Petrarca (see, I can use this too!) is the same distinction that J. L. Borges was making in his little story. Another quote from Northrop Frye:

"In European literature, down to the last couple of centuries, the myths of the Bible have formed a special category, as a body of stories with a distinctive authority. Poets who attach themselves to this central mythical area like Dante and Milton, have been thought of as possessing a special kind of seriousness conferred on them by their subject matter. .... When we turn to the tales of Chaucer or the comedies of Shakespeare, the primary motive of the author seems to be entertainment, in the sense of the word just used. Here we notice an influence from folktale, so pervasive as to make it clear that folktale is their direct literary ancestor."

I think that Leonard's work by and large is meant to be more "entertainment" than a body of stories with a "distinctive authority." I think that his humor and the light hearted treatments that he gives many of his subjects musically is evidence of this direction. This probably works better as poetry, also.

To get back to the original subject of Cohen and Keats, Frye has another quote that I think sheds some light on this matter:

"Middleton Murray saw Keats as struggling between a good and an evil angel of identification, one named Shakespeare and one named Milton. When Keats wrote 'To Autumn', says Murray, Shakespeare had triumphed in Keats's soul, because 'To Autumn' is such a good poem.

I think this helps validate some of the criticism and comments like Mark B. recently made. I know you and I love TNS, but I think DH is meant to be a step back toward this less serious role and one that we can appreciate as "good poetry" and "good music."


Regarding Petrarca and Dante, T. S. Eliot made a statement that I can only paraphrase that Shakespeare and Dante divide the universe, and there is no third. That seems to be the prevailing attitude in Literary Criticism in both the U. K. and the U. S. Without being very familiar with Petrarca, I don't feel able to comment.

Joe
Last edited by Joe Way on Fri Dec 31, 2004 5:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tchocolatl
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Postby Tchocolatl » Fri Dec 31, 2004 1:21 am

Tom.... ...................................................................................................................................................AlAaaaAAAAaas..... Roméo and Juliette certainly never heard of Romanticism...

Did you answer in a hurry? Ah! Forget about my question I'll find some work of your Italian by myself. I'm a big girl.
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"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

Leonard Cohen
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Tchocolatl
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Postby Tchocolatl » Fri Dec 31, 2004 4:16 am

Ah! your Italian is bel et bien Pétrarque, indeed! François Pétrarque, Petrarch, Francesco Petrarca, etc. etc. etc. It is a real Babel Tower here. :lol:

Although, Tom & Jurica I understand why you.... Petrarca was occupied by subjects that occupied LC also. A lot! 8)

I really do not feel to explain why LC reminds me (by some ways) of the poets of this epoch, right now, but it would be for more reasons than only Petrarca. Because Petrarca, like others humanists where products of their time, and... well, you may see me coming, here. I would be too long, and I'm afraid too boring.

Joe, in ancient oral societies, spoken texts were arranged in layers, or degrees of meanings. At first degree, one understand the text in a way while some initiated listeners could understand the text in all its layers (or degrees). Everybody was hearing exactly the same text, but they understand much different things.

Now, I could not say (unly LC could say it) that he intentionnaly put levels of understanding, but what I could see are symbols he used. Counsciously or not? (The uncounscious symbolism is all another subject.)

If I take the example of Ballad of the Absent Mare, I see that he knew what he was doing, at least in this song. One could say, not knowing about the Chinese story of the 10 bulls, that it is another just cow-boy's song. And, in fact, it is. It is also.

I see the same phenomenon with Joan of Arc and some Hinduist notions, although I can not trace a text in particular.

If one enjoy the songs in a way or another, who cares?

It is fun for some of us to talk about the ways (even if it could be wrong ways sometimes, in my case) we are seing it. Does not harm anyone, I guess. :D
***
"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

Leonard Cohen
Beautiful Losers
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tomsakic
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Postby tomsakic » Fri Dec 31, 2004 12:15 pm

Shakespeare comes after Petrarca in the line, Tchocolatl: the two most prominent "canzonieres" are written by them: Petrarca institutionalized the Petrarchist/Italian form of the sonnet, and Shakespeare the second form, the Shakespearean/English/Elizabethan sonnet. Also Shakespeare's sonnets are, like Petrarca's, series of love poems with same path form first sight to the end of love (whether is the object dark lady or "my friend" :wink: ). So:
Roméo and Juliette certainly never heard of Romanticism...
proves exactly my words: they were there before the Romanticism, so the line is clear: such image of love is sourced form Petrarca's/ Shakespare's sonnets (love "canzonieres"), it was there before Romanticism. Only those images of deep, overeacted emotions are from Werther and similar stuff [consider Ossian by Macpherson: same grandiose connection and attachment between Nature and Poet and grand emotional response]. And, of course, Shakespeare was more or less minor writer before Romanticism discovered him; Shakespeare is in fact the invention of modern age (which origins in Romantic age; before Romantics, there were no idea of "author" and "genius" and "originality" and "work" as we know these ideas today). So those "romantic" ideals are found in Shakespeare as their main predecessor and our main predecessor, that what makes Shakespeare the actual writer after all.

[Tchocolatl, I didn't quite get you: recommendation from Romantic or Rennaissance literature? If the latter, selection of Petrarch's and Shakespeare's sonnets is the best choice - if I can presume that you didn't read it. As for some deeper literature, I myself didn' go so deep in the matters; I am more the man of modernism and postmodern novels and science fiction:)]
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tomsakic
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Postby tomsakic » Fri Dec 31, 2004 2:44 pm

Back to Joe's note, I think that in this tries to understand some DH songs we forget the first LC's statement; not that "this album speaks for itself" but when he declined to publish poetry online before the album was released, because he feels that the words on paper doesn't mean much in most of the new songs, and because the booklet accompanies the record.
That's worth for considering, maybe we shall go back to music and his original declining of deeper meaning? Also, mpetit made me reconsider the booklet and its drawings. Most of them are put purposely on its very pages, the fire around Klein's head on To A teacher page, and particularly Dear Heather's page. Final reading of this song must lead us back to those drawings, their "playfulness" which were "appropriate for the song".
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Postby Tchocolatl » Fri Dec 31, 2004 4:25 pm

:D Ah! this you understood, Tom. 8) I was sure it will go unoticed for the end of times.

Just a reminder : I am not engage in a who-will-win, or who-will-look-better or I-have-someting-prove or I-want-to-make-important-contact-for-my-carreer (?.?.? = free publicity) games (not that I say that others are, here, I just talk for me) that bores me so much

Joe, Tom and Tom, if we want to find "good "answers" by ourselves, we have to look at more "bad answers" much more than you seems, Tom, willing to do so (humility is absolutelty necessary to find the truth, I'm sorry but this is life guys). But when it appears that I am right and you are wrong I will not deny it, as I do not deny the contrary, my dear sirs.

The world is not reduce to writers, and I repeat they are products of their time. Human beings are complex nets of many influences. This is really vast. But into this furnace I do not ask you now to venture. Just to mention a path of influences. I'll certainly do it someday If I find the courage and time because he is touches at subjects very deeply.

I never ever think that anything that was done by Leonard Cohen, booklet included, was not carefully taken into account a lot of details, not to say all the details.

This is why I am asking regularly to musicians here this and this question. Rarely answered, in never. But I found some elswhere.

Am I this sort of curious fan, yes, but I also think that Leonard Cohen is touching people in their own way, and that this is one of the most beautiful part of his works. I would be sorry to "desacralize" this, may I say.

I would have a lot to say about energy vs over reaction (in regard with love and Nature) but time flies and I have to do the same!

Ey! Last day of the year 2004! :D
***
"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

Leonard Cohen
Beautiful Losers
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linda_lakeside
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Postby linda_lakeside » Sun Jan 02, 2005 4:19 am

Hi Everybody,

I've been off the board for a few days and will be for another several. I just wanted to thank you Tom Sakic (and everyone else), for your response to my enquiry (inquiry?) re: There for You. Sorry, Tom, I picked up the thread, it became tangled in my fingers and I posted in your Old Ideas project. I admit it, sometimes I see something and just go ahead and post even though it has nothing to do with what's going on! Still, your patience shines through and you respond with your usual insight and as much info as anyone could want. Thanks. Tchocolatl was right, there's always something to learn from you guys. I don't have the time to explore to such depth every song and poem that Leonard's put to paper - so, I get lazy and come to you! 8).

I know There for You has been discussed in this Forum yet I sometimes find that too many opinions can muddy the waters. Especially if it is a song that is new and I'm trying to understand it from my own perspective. Still, there is much there to "chew on".

Joe Way:

Boy, did you outdo yourself! I couldn't have asked for a more articulate and thougthful contribution! Perhaps in the future I'll put down my own little interpretation. Then this can be done all over again. :lol:

You all had so many thought provoking things to say - maybe, then, it can't be a bad thing that I brought the song up again. Yes? No? So, while I'm off the board, I'll do what I've always done in the past - just sit with the lyrics in front of me and my headphones on.

See you guys in the New Year and please have a very happy one!
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Joe Way
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Postby Joe Way » Sun Jan 02, 2005 7:51 pm

Hi Tom, Jurica, Tchoco and Linda.

This is a very enjoyable discussion. I received Marjorie Garber's wonderful book,"Shakespeare After All" for Christmas-she is a Harvard English professor and these are notes taken from her lectures over the years. She makes a couple of observations in her introduction that are applicable here.

"Shakespeare criticism, like all critical interpretation, is, to a certain extent, inevitably contrapuntal. Ideas develop as commentary and argument."

"Shakespeare's plays are living works of art. Their meanings grow and change as they encounter vivid critical and theatrical imaginations."

So, too, are Leonard's works living! So we need never fear to have an opinion or to suggest a different possible meaning. It is in this way that we bring out the richness that is in the words and music.

Happy 2005 to all of our Cohen friends.

Joe
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:19 am

I finally saw "Dead Poet's Society" last night, and had similar feelings, Joe ~ Robin Williams's character as professor makes many astute observations and comments that apply here, as well. I'm glad I bought the tape, as it's one that I want to watch more than once. I also felt that our own Member's Poetry Forum could benefit from the film, too.
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linda_lakeside
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Postby linda_lakeside » Mon Jan 03, 2005 4:05 am

Thanks, Joe, for the response. I'm supposed to be getting ready to go but I always find a minute here or there to see what's been happening. You do know how to put your finger on the point. Or at least find the quotes that do.

I've never seen "Dead Poet's Society" either and I don't know why. It's been on my 'to see' list for yonks - I just haven't got to it yet. But I shall. A little bird told me my Dad got me a VCR/DVD combo for my b'day - so I'll have no excuse as they're practically giving away VCR tapes now. I can collect all my favourites for less than $50. And I do like Robin Williams in dramatic roles. My VCR tapes don't work so well since I accidentaly pushed the VCR out the back of the entertainment centre and on to the floor! Here's how I save millions of dollars and still get my favourite movies and CD's - I crawl through the dusty boxes at the local pawn shops. Many great finds - but is it worth it? :roll:

Hope you're feeling better, Lizzy. Joe, I look forward to bumping into you in the New Year.

3 Pages of posts re: the poetry contest and I only stumbled on it last night! I'll go over there now to see what's up. Then I really must find a way to stuff all my clothes into one bag.

Happy New Year you two!
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linda_lakeside
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Postby linda_lakeside » Mon Jan 03, 2005 10:17 am

I meant VHS tapes. It's like they've disappeared overnight! I can see the same for DVD. Pull out your wallets, everyone, there is something bigger and better and more expensive on the horizon. :roll:
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tom.d.stiller
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Postby tom.d.stiller » Mon Jan 03, 2005 10:39 am

So right, Joe.

Literature is - to some theorists - a communication process between writer and reader.

That's why I have my doubts about an author being considered the most valuable source of interpretation of his own works. That's why I think that the relevance of the author's biography for the interpretation of his texts is vastly overstated. (Of course, the author's statements are helpful hints, and the same goes for his biography.)

Tom
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