Lizzy’s rightly points out that “Leonard’s legacy as a poet is still apart from him as singer-songwriter, musician”. It faithfully reflects the spirit of the request made to Mr. Cohen.
It has been said that there is darkness under the lamp. As admirers of Leonard’s work we have the privilege of knowing Mr. Cohen with a familiarity that is unprecedented for poets and artists of any other generation. In part this is because of Jarkko’s kindness and sustained efforts to create and maintain this website; to say nothing of Mr. Cohen’s generosity, graciousness and humility which have afforded us a closeness impossible otherwise. Given this it is easy for us to mistake Mr. Cohen merely as a popular singer.
As far as I am concerned his celebrity notwithstanding, Mr. Cohen and his poetry belong to the galaxy of poets like T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, Dylan Thomas and so on. It would not surprise me if Mr. Cohen himself disagrees with what I just wrote. The request to Mr. Cohen is a request made to him as the greatest poet of our time, who also happens to be a singer-songwriter and musician. And I don’t think anyone else reading a major poet’s work can form part of literary history, unless it happens to be a major poet himself reading someone else’s work. In fact this has been done with great effect and passion by Dylan Thomas reading some of the works of his favourite poets. The present request made of Mr. Cohen is made in the hope he will leave us and history, readings of his work in his own voice, which I find incredibly beautiful and resonant, and one which reflects the meaning of his work with unmatched precision. Of course if Mr. Cohen wishes to include others to read his work that is his prerogative. For me it is only Mr. Cohen’s voice that matters in the context of recorded readings of his own work, and I am certain history will concur.
For us on this forum to whom it may be of interest I am giving some links to audio publications of poets reading their own work. All these readings have now become part of literary history. And for lovers of poetry they bring unending joy, to say nothing of a sense of wonder, of history. The most comprehensive readings are by Dylan Thomas. Because he not only reads his own work, but also the works of poets whom he admires.
T.S. Eliot at:
http://www.randomhouse.ca/catalog/displ ... 0739315354
e.e. cummings, Robert Frost and others at:
http://www.randomhouse.com/audio/catalo ... f+the+poet
http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780 ... index.aspx
Sylvia Plath at:
http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/disp ... 0375405990
Adrienne Rich at:
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Vo ... 0553714890
Maya Angelou at:
http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/disp ... 0375419492
Allen Ginsberg at:
http://www.allenginsberg.org/index.php? ... f-the-poet
Anne Sexton at:
"So if you're sitting all alone and hear a-knocking at your door and the air is full of promises, well buddy, you've been warned!!!"
Nick Cave on love