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Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs

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With the appearance of his first record album in 1967, Leonard Cohen - already well known in his native Canada as a poet and novelist - was introduced to audiences in the United States, where he quickly took his place among the preeminent singer/songwriters of the time. Over the years, and through the release of eight more albums, Cohen gained a reputation as a dazzlingly With the appearance of his first record album in 1967, Leonard Cohen - already well known in his native Canada as a poet and novelist - was introduced to audiences in the United States, where he quickly took his place among the preeminent singer/songwriters of the time. Over the years, and through the release of eight more albums, Cohen gained a reputation as a dazzlingly literate and consistently daring songwriter. His status as a cult artist grew and solidified, not only in North America but all across Europe; singers of enormously diverse styles recorded his songs; his influence could be charted in every new wave of recording artists that followed his emergence. In 1988 the release of his album I'm Your Man thrust him back into the mainstream spotlight; and his latest recording, The Future, has brought him renewed widespread acclaim as one of our most enduring poet/songwriters. Now Stranger Music brings together, for the first time in one volume, a generous selection of Leonard Cohen's song lyrics and poetry. Stranger Music reveals the range and depth of Cohen's work. And it is a long-overdue celebration of his extraordinary gift for language that speaks with rare clarity, passion, and timelessness.


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With the appearance of his first record album in 1967, Leonard Cohen - already well known in his native Canada as a poet and novelist - was introduced to audiences in the United States, where he quickly took his place among the preeminent singer/songwriters of the time. Over the years, and through the release of eight more albums, Cohen gained a reputation as a dazzlingly With the appearance of his first record album in 1967, Leonard Cohen - already well known in his native Canada as a poet and novelist - was introduced to audiences in the United States, where he quickly took his place among the preeminent singer/songwriters of the time. Over the years, and through the release of eight more albums, Cohen gained a reputation as a dazzlingly literate and consistently daring songwriter. His status as a cult artist grew and solidified, not only in North America but all across Europe; singers of enormously diverse styles recorded his songs; his influence could be charted in every new wave of recording artists that followed his emergence. In 1988 the release of his album I'm Your Man thrust him back into the mainstream spotlight; and his latest recording, The Future, has brought him renewed widespread acclaim as one of our most enduring poet/songwriters. Now Stranger Music brings together, for the first time in one volume, a generous selection of Leonard Cohen's song lyrics and poetry. Stranger Music reveals the range and depth of Cohen's work. And it is a long-overdue celebration of his extraordinary gift for language that speaks with rare clarity, passion, and timelessness.

30 review for Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs

  1. 4 out of 5

    Arah-Lynda

    Rest in Peace Mr. Cohen. Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord That David played, and it pleased the Lord But you don’t really care for music do you? It goes like this The fourth, the fifth The minor fall, the major lift The baffled King composing Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Your faith was strong but you needed proof You saw her bathing on the roof Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her She tied you To a kitchen chair She broke your throne, and she cut your hair And from your l Rest in Peace Mr. Cohen. Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord That David played, and it pleased the Lord But you don’t really care for music do you? It goes like this The fourth, the fifth The minor fall, the major lift The baffled King composing Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Your faith was strong but you needed proof You saw her bathing on the roof Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her She tied you To a kitchen chair She broke your throne, and she cut your hair And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah You say I took the name in vain I don’t even know the name But if I did, well really, what’s it to you? There’s a blaze of light In every word It doesn’t matter which you heard The holy or the broken Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah I did my best, it wasn’t much I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you And even though It all went wrong I’ll stand before the Lord of Song With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah

  2. 5 out of 5

    Yumiko Hansen

    Here is my favourite... -- As a falling leaf may rest A moment in the air So your head upon my breast So my hand upon your hair And many night endure Without a moon, without a star So we will endure When one is gone and far True love leaves no traces If you and I are one It's lost in our embraces Like stars against the sun

  3. 5 out of 5

    DoctorM

    Here's the way it works. If you're male, and if you appreciate art, poetry, music, and a lifetime of serious, powerful work...well, you want to be Leonard Cohen. You can't be--- and he does it better than you'll ever do it anyway: the tailored suits, the beautiful actresses and models who've thrown themselves at him, the shatteringly brilliant poetry and music, the years as a Zen roshi. Accept that. And then read these poems and just be...enthralled.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Raegan Butcher

    The selected works of Leonard Cohen. As usual with collections like this there are a few exclusions that I'd quibble with--several of my favorite poems from "Flowers For Hitler" are not here, for instance, but aside from things like that this collection is a fine book and is the only form in which the poems from his early books can be found as they are now long out of print. As such this provides a fascinating glimpse into hard-to-find Cohen books like "Death of a Lady's Man" and "The Energy Of The selected works of Leonard Cohen. As usual with collections like this there are a few exclusions that I'd quibble with--several of my favorite poems from "Flowers For Hitler" are not here, for instance, but aside from things like that this collection is a fine book and is the only form in which the poems from his early books can be found as they are now long out of print. As such this provides a fascinating glimpse into hard-to-find Cohen books like "Death of a Lady's Man" and "The Energy Of Slaves", poems from both of which are presented here. Plus it collects the lyrics for his songs, all of them, and they are probably what he will best be remembered for.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    This arrived in the mail as an unexpected gift from Stockton, a fellow I met at Volume II Cafe over our coincidental readings of Hegel. He was studying philosophy at DePaul, while I was doing similarly at Loyola. The friendship was immediate. Years later, Stockton moved to Britain, but still came to stay at my place--at first annually, then tapering off so that it's been several years since last we saw him. It was towards the beginning of this period, while he was still visiting regularly, that S This arrived in the mail as an unexpected gift from Stockton, a fellow I met at Volume II Cafe over our coincidental readings of Hegel. He was studying philosophy at DePaul, while I was doing similarly at Loyola. The friendship was immediate. Years later, Stockton moved to Britain, but still came to stay at my place--at first annually, then tapering off so that it's been several years since last we saw him. It was towards the beginning of this period, while he was still visiting regularly, that Stockton, knowing my liking for Cohen's music, mailed me this collection of poetry and song.

  6. 5 out of 5

    John

    Contents: 1 Let Us Compare Mythologies (8 poems) 2.The Spice-Box of Earth (22) 3. Flowers for Hitler (28) Includes the moving poem 'Hitler' and the more whimsical (but no less serious for that) 'Queen Victoria and Me'. 4. Parasites of Heaven (5) 5. Songs of Leonard Cohen (9) Includes 'Suzanne,' ' So Long, Marianne', 'Sisters of Mercy'. 6. Selected Poems 1956-68 (6) 7. Beautiful Losers (7) 8. Songs from a Room (5) 9. Songs of Love and Hate (4) Includes 'Joan of Arc' 10. The Energy of Slaves (40) Includes '1967 Contents: 1 Let Us Compare Mythologies (8 poems) 2.The Spice-Box of Earth (22) 3. Flowers for Hitler (28) Includes the moving poem 'Hitler' and the more whimsical (but no less serious for that) 'Queen Victoria and Me'. 4. Parasites of Heaven (5) 5. Songs of Leonard Cohen (9) Includes 'Suzanne,' ' So Long, Marianne', 'Sisters of Mercy'. 6. Selected Poems 1956-68 (6) 7. Beautiful Losers (7) 8. Songs from a Room (5) 9. Songs of Love and Hate (4) Includes 'Joan of Arc' 10. The Energy of Slaves (40) Includes '1967' and 'I Left a Woman' 11. New Skin for the Old Ceremony (9) Includes 'Chelsea Hotel', 'Is this what You Wanted' and 'A Singer Must Die' 12. Death of a Ladies' Man (5) Includes the memorable and Edward Lear-ish, 'Don't Go Home with Your Hard-On' 13. Death of a Lady's Man (71) Includes 'French and English' which I loved but too long to quote here. 14. Recent Songs (7) 15. Book of Mercy (21) The Bible and Jewish-ness figure throughout his work, particularly here. 16. Various Positions (6) Includes the glorious song 'Hallelujah' which I can't read without hearing Jeff Buckley's gorgeous voice and that mean's goose bumps! 17. I'm Your Man (7) 18. The Future (6) 19. Uncollected Poems (11) Dear Leonard, You exited stage as a victorious Donald Trump entered it - to thefanfare of the Stones' 'You Can't always Get What You Want'. I suspect you did though. Perfect timing… Thanks for what you've left us. X

  7. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Oh, Leonard Cohen, why do you rock my world so much? This book is STUNNING. (I love that it includes song lyrics mixed in with the poetry; based on "Sisters of Mercy" and "Hallelujah" alone, Leonard Cohen is my favorite poet of the 20th century.) I use his religious poetry in a class I teach at my Catholic church; it reads very much like a modern version of Augustine's "Confessions" or the Book of Job . . . painfully visceral and gut-wrenchingly human. If you come to Leonard Cohen in the right f Oh, Leonard Cohen, why do you rock my world so much? This book is STUNNING. (I love that it includes song lyrics mixed in with the poetry; based on "Sisters of Mercy" and "Hallelujah" alone, Leonard Cohen is my favorite poet of the 20th century.) I use his religious poetry in a class I teach at my Catholic church; it reads very much like a modern version of Augustine's "Confessions" or the Book of Job . . . painfully visceral and gut-wrenchingly human. If you come to Leonard Cohen in the right frame of mind (there is definitely a right and a wrong approach), he will change your life. No kidding.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erica English

    Another book a friend gave to me. He bought it for like a quarter at a book sale and gave it to me because he knew I liked and wrote poetry. I was in high school at the time and the only thing I knew about Leonard Cohen was that Jeff Buckley did a cover of his "Hallelujah" song. This book and Leonard's poetry and music have come to be some of the most precious gems in my life. I have a sort of silly ritual of reading "It's Probably Spring" somewhere around the beginning of spring every year now. Another book a friend gave to me. He bought it for like a quarter at a book sale and gave it to me because he knew I liked and wrote poetry. I was in high school at the time and the only thing I knew about Leonard Cohen was that Jeff Buckley did a cover of his "Hallelujah" song. This book and Leonard's poetry and music have come to be some of the most precious gems in my life. I have a sort of silly ritual of reading "It's Probably Spring" somewhere around the beginning of spring every year now. Thank you Leonard for being a constant inspiration and thank you Jon for giving me what you thought was just a cheap book of poetry. ;)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    I gave my copy of this away to a loved one, give it back! No...kidding. It was appropriately gifted to a marvellous boy who I hope thinks better of me for parting with this treasure. Love the title for this collection.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Excellent - but what else can we expect from one of the greatest artists of our time?

  11. 4 out of 5

    felix

    Cohen has clear tact and ability with poetic writing, but this collection was definitely 50/50. Some were so exquisite I teared up (namely Beneath My Hands), and some I just raised an eyebrow, sat back and thought, really? I put this down to the fact that Cohen has been somewhat co-opted by fake deep, artsy fuckboys, who want to impress girls by knowing poetry. While I hate to think that has any influence on my taste, it's sure to seep in somewhere. Some of the poems struck me as exactly the kin Cohen has clear tact and ability with poetic writing, but this collection was definitely 50/50. Some were so exquisite I teared up (namely Beneath My Hands), and some I just raised an eyebrow, sat back and thought, really? I put this down to the fact that Cohen has been somewhat co-opted by fake deep, artsy fuckboys, who want to impress girls by knowing poetry. While I hate to think that has any influence on my taste, it's sure to seep in somewhere. Some of the poems struck me as exactly the kind of thing these fuckboys would like: somewhat metaphysical, with a jumble of metaphors and an ambiguous final line for good measure. Regardless, they're well-written. He has definite talent with language and has some incredibly impactful and original turns of phrase.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Viramontes

    In the book Stranger music, the world renowned Canadian poet Leonard Cohen gives us a deep, personal glimpse into his life through his poetry. This book contains 432 pages of poetry and songs that fluctuate with emotion throughout. Stranger music chronicles the life of Leonard Cohen through his poetry. This book is almost biographical as the poems in the book were written in the span of 30+ years of Cohen’s life. Each chapter reflects a different feeling Cohen felt during that time period of 3 In the book Stranger music, the world renowned Canadian poet Leonard Cohen gives us a deep, personal glimpse into his life through his poetry. This book contains 432 pages of poetry and songs that fluctuate with emotion throughout. Stranger music chronicles the life of Leonard Cohen through his poetry. This book is almost biographical as the poems in the book were written in the span of 30+ years of Cohen’s life. Each chapter reflects a different feeling Cohen felt during that time period of 30+ years. As you read this book these different feeling will become apparent.. The opening chapters of the book are filled with poems of love such as in I long to hold some lady, and lust such as in Chelsea’s Hotel, but as you progress through this book other topics are written about such as politics which is evident in the poem Democracy, religion such as in the poem Prayer for Messiah, and the nature of life itself such as in Hallelujah. This makes the book appealing to more than one audience. Leonard Cohen demonstrates a deep understanding on all the topics covered in this book and writes about them in a way that will both intrigue and mystify you. Cohen has a style of writing that is rarely seen today, he has a way of perfectly describing emotions in a way the average person cannot. Nonetheless the book can be a difficult read as some of the words may not be part of the common persons lexicon. Even though this book is a difficult one to fully understand you can still enjoy it. Overall Stranger music is a book that everyone who is a poem enthusiast can enjoy. If you’re new to poetry this book may not be for you as it proves to be a difficult read. This book is deeply personal and it gives you a view into Leonard Cohen’s life while simultaneously making you think about your own. If you have spare time on your hands give this book a try.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Many of these poems are wonderful. Cohen writes on themes of love, sex, loss and depression. His poetry expresses his Judaism and Zen Buddhism, combining an earthiness with a deep spirituality. There is a Zen aesthetic that comes through many of these poems. Like Japanese haiku, Cohen's writing captures moment, feeling, and image in a few simple words (albeit in a different poetic structure). Some of Cohen's lines are like koan, the seemingly non-sensical questions posed by Zen roshis in order t Many of these poems are wonderful. Cohen writes on themes of love, sex, loss and depression. His poetry expresses his Judaism and Zen Buddhism, combining an earthiness with a deep spirituality. There is a Zen aesthetic that comes through many of these poems. Like Japanese haiku, Cohen's writing captures moment, feeling, and image in a few simple words (albeit in a different poetic structure). Some of Cohen's lines are like koan, the seemingly non-sensical questions posed by Zen roshis in order to get novices to think beyond rational thought. (The koan, or faux koan, that most of us know asks, what is the sound of one hand clapping?) Here are a few samples from poems I especially enjoyed: FOR ANNE With Annie gone, Whose eyes to compare With the morning sun? Not that I did compare, But I do compare Now that she's gone. from FOR E.J.P. I once believed a single line in a Chinese poem could change forever how blossoms fell and that the moon itself climbed on the grief of concise weeping men to journey over cups of wine I thought invasions were begun for crows to pick at a skeleton dynasties sown and spent to serve the language of a fine lament I thought governors ended their lives as sweetly drunken monks telling time by rain and candles instructed by an insect's pilgriage across the page -- all this so one might send an exile's perfect letter to an ancient hometown friend. from DEMOCRACY It's coming from the sorrow on the street, the holy places where the races meet; from the homicidal bitchin' that goes down in every kitchen to determine who will serve and who will eat From the wells of disappointment where the women kneel to pray for the grace of G-d in the desert here and the desert far away: Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Erich

    This book has an assortment of song lyrics, poems dating from before LC's singing career, and excerpts from his two early novels, The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers. As a teenager growing up in Toronto, I read Cohen's poetry and I was surprised to find many lines that had engraved themselves in my brain. Lovely lines... Then came Suzanne and the singing career. I didn't connect this directly to the poetry; it seemed a separate career, and it still does, in many ways. The two novels also wer This book has an assortment of song lyrics, poems dating from before LC's singing career, and excerpts from his two early novels, The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers. As a teenager growing up in Toronto, I read Cohen's poetry and I was surprised to find many lines that had engraved themselves in my brain. Lovely lines... Then came Suzanne and the singing career. I didn't connect this directly to the poetry; it seemed a separate career, and it still does, in many ways. The two novels also were written before Cohen started singing. Beautiful Losers, written on the Greek island of Hydra, was a cult novel in the late 1960s but I don't know how it would stand up now. But the brief excerpts here work well, I think, to give you a flavour of his stream of consciousness book. Some years later I met Marianne at a party in Toronto and she told me some stories about LC and Suzanne, and more than a decade later, moving to Montreal, I worked in Cohen's favourite cafe on rue, St-Laurent and thought I glimpsed Suzanne once or twice walking down rue Ste-Catherine. Cohen was long gone from Canada by then but the inspiration I got in the cafe fuelled a couple books and the magazine journalism I was writing at the time. So reading this book brought back a lot of memories and had a resonance I hadn't expected. However, some of the poems I wanted to check out weren't in this volume, packed as it is, and I wished I hadn't sold the original Cohen poetry volumes from the 60s...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maria Scala

    I've had this book on my shelf for years, and every time I open it up, I find something new to appreciate, or else I marvel again at Cohen's ability to light up the page with his poetry and lyrics. This essential volume includes classic poems such as "For Anne," "You Have the Lovers," "As the Mist Leaves No Scar," "I Left a Woman Waiting," and "Death of a Lady's Man" and iconic songs such as Famous Blue Raincoat, Suzanne, Everybody Knows, Tower of Song, Dance Me to the End of Love, and Chelsea H I've had this book on my shelf for years, and every time I open it up, I find something new to appreciate, or else I marvel again at Cohen's ability to light up the page with his poetry and lyrics. This essential volume includes classic poems such as "For Anne," "You Have the Lovers," "As the Mist Leaves No Scar," "I Left a Woman Waiting," and "Death of a Lady's Man" and iconic songs such as Famous Blue Raincoat, Suzanne, Everybody Knows, Tower of Song, Dance Me to the End of Love, and Chelsea Hotel. This was my selection for Literary Mama's Poetry: Essential Reading list (2008): http://www.literarymama.com/litreflec...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ulysse

    Ah Leonard, your low nasal has rung in my ear so long I'm low and nasal myself. Poet of unequalled eloquence, who not only wrote like a bad angel but also succeeded in making the bible sexy -- for that alone, you belong in one of Dante's Cantos.

  17. 5 out of 5

    tiger lily

    Unpopular opinion: I thought most of this was trash. Disjointed, senseless, silly trash. It isn't easy to say that, but wow I was disappointed, this, after all, is Mr. Fucking. Cohen, but I need to be honest, I outright disliked about 70% of it. Is there something wrong with me? Do I have no taste? Am I not clever enough? Am I coming down with something? I don't know. All I know is that I cringed so hard at times due in part to the following: - Random crude bizarre sexual references, some of whic Unpopular opinion: I thought most of this was trash. Disjointed, senseless, silly trash. It isn't easy to say that, but wow I was disappointed, this, after all, is Mr. Fucking. Cohen, but I need to be honest, I outright disliked about 70% of it. Is there something wrong with me? Do I have no taste? Am I not clever enough? Am I coming down with something? I don't know. All I know is that I cringed so hard at times due in part to the following: - Random crude bizarre sexual references, some of which seem to just come out of nowhere. It's like he never saw the point in having any context - think of a nipple while you're writing about something else? Pop a nipple in a poem! Why not? - The rambling. Oh god, the rambling. Some of these aren't really poems at all, just blocks of random babble about nothing. - Women, girls, wives, girlfriends, whores, women he just met, etc, all are included in this, and I don't even know if I counted one which wasn't sexualized or written about in a way that just left a horrible taste in my mouth. Even when he falls in love, all he can seem to talk about is how hot she looks, what their sex life is doing, or about how they argue. Or how, literally: "She is beautiful when she smiles. She should smile more" (*gag*). There's a poem called "I Perceived The Outline Of Your Breasts" which is exactly how it sounds. It's a poem about looking at a woman's boobs through her Halloween costume, written in a fancified poetic way, of course, which I think makes me dislike it even more. I think I'd prefer if many of these poems were written more literally, less flowery; it's like they're hiding their crudity behind a pretense of false intelligence and poeticism to excuse what it boils down to. It's as though it's either ashamed of itself because it knows what it really is, or it's trying to make out that much of this is 50 times deeper than it actually is. Ugh. Don't get me wrong, there's still work in here which is amazing, but for me personally, 401 pages of much the same was excessive for content which didn't strike me as very diverse. Certain themes became extremely predictable. Now excuse me while I wash my brain out with some work on well-written female characters for a while.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Diana Raab

    Ever since I lived in Montreal, I've been a fan of Leonard Cohen. His lyrics celebrate our uniqueness and sameness, the political issues that pull us, the sexuality that entices us, and the relationships that inspire and haunt us. He has a way of merging melancholy with joy. For example, his poem, "Song," does just that: "I almost went to bed/without remembering the four white violets/I put in the button-hole/of your green sweater/and how I kissed you then/and you kissed me/ shy as though I'd/ne Ever since I lived in Montreal, I've been a fan of Leonard Cohen. His lyrics celebrate our uniqueness and sameness, the political issues that pull us, the sexuality that entices us, and the relationships that inspire and haunt us. He has a way of merging melancholy with joy. For example, his poem, "Song," does just that: "I almost went to bed/without remembering the four white violets/I put in the button-hole/of your green sweater/and how I kissed you then/and you kissed me/ shy as though I'd/never been your lover" Perhaps, our similar Montreal Jewish heritage is what made his work resonate with me so much, or maybe it's our mutual lust for life, despite all odds. I was fortunate enough to see him on his 80th birthday tour and witness his deep passion for songwriting, and I so admired the way he still performed with such strong and youthful vigor. Cohen's book was gifted to me on my birthday. I had not heard of it before, and even though it's not a new collection, it's one that I deeply treasure. It includes lyrics, poems and some short essays. Highly recommended!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Phoenix

    Definitely a Must Buy for your collection I've known this book for many years now and find that it's a familiar touchpoint. It has all of my favorite poems by Leonard Cohen: "Dance Me to the End of Love", "Isaiah", "All There is to Know About Adolph Eichman", "Slowly I Married Her", "Lovers" and so many more. A simply arranged index and organized by the original collection the typography is well laid out and one can easily browse and select a few poems to fit your mood, or find the lyrics for one Definitely a Must Buy for your collection I've known this book for many years now and find that it's a familiar touchpoint. It has all of my favorite poems by Leonard Cohen: "Dance Me to the End of Love", "Isaiah", "All There is to Know About Adolph Eichman", "Slowly I Married Her", "Lovers" and so many more. A simply arranged index and organized by the original collection the typography is well laid out and one can easily browse and select a few poems to fit your mood, or find the lyrics for one of his songs. If you are looking for a definitive collection of Leonard Cohen, either for yourself or as a gift - this is it. Recommended. (For another artist who references Leonard Cohen in a humorous way, try the CD "Momnipotent: Songs for Weary Parents". The song "Leonard Cohen's Never Gonna Bring My Groceries In" is hilarious and it will send you scrambling to find the poem it references. The rest of the album is also very good and is a terrific gift for new mothers.)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Liliana

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. To A Fellow Student. "I thought about you a lot. I still do. You sat still, your hands clasped on your lap like a schoolchild. You were allowed to cry because you have been true to your grief. I saw you today sitting in the same way, the same tears on your cheeks, as if you had not moved in all these years - the same bad headache in your right eye, the same housefly trying to fertilize your lips. Old friend, you're a mess by every measure except the ladder of love." - Leonard Cohen. A wonderful collection of work, To A Fellow Student. "I thought about you a lot. I still do. You sat still, your hands clasped on your lap like a schoolchild. You were allowed to cry because you have been true to your grief. I saw you today sitting in the same way, the same tears on your cheeks, as if you had not moved in all these years - the same bad headache in your right eye, the same housefly trying to fertilize your lips. Old friend, you're a mess by every measure except the ladder of love." - Leonard Cohen. A wonderful collection of work, filled with all the favorite songs/poems. It's a pleasure as always, Mr Cohen. We miss you greatly. We love you more.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Klawitter

    The courtroom is quiet, but who will confess? Is it true you betrayed us? The answer is Yes. Then Read me the list of the crimes that are mine. I will ask for the mercy you love to decline. And all the ladies go moist, and the judge has no choice: a singer must die for the lie in his voice.

  22. 5 out of 5

    E. Brouder

    A broad and fairly comprehensive sampling of Leonard Cohen's genius. The book did not have some of my favorite Cohen pieces, however.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Julietta

    Some good, some really good, some treasures, some that went completely over my head, some that I didn't appreciate as much, and some lewd. It was definitely a good mix of everything.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Folke

    Contains most of the "Best of ..." songs.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    A treasure trove and a gift that keeps on giving. I'm lying a bit, because I don't think I'll ever be finished reading this book. (Mature grade 10s and up. Some of what Cohen writes is quite XXX).

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Montgomery

    Review incoming.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Don Pollock

    I am big Cohen fan and miss his music.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ian Pyatt

    A tough read for me; perhaps not being a fan of his music, save for a couple songs (Hallelujah, Suzanne, Closing Time, Bird On A Wire) or never have read any of his material, I found this a difficult read. I skipped over some of the songs, a "stories", but will admit to enjoying a few of the poems.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    I don't think he's depressing! Does that make me in some way broken? Anyway: Cohen the Jewish Buddhist leverages literary power from a faith he does not own: his poems are thus as erotic and grotesque as the best Christian writing. Much funnier and more concrete than his songs, too. Sure, everything is ominous in his work, but it's also banal, and these often admit they're ridiculous. To my surprise he is never obscure; to my relief he is never fatally wounded by the vicious retribution his many I don't think he's depressing! Does that make me in some way broken? Anyway: Cohen the Jewish Buddhist leverages literary power from a faith he does not own: his poems are thus as erotic and grotesque as the best Christian writing. Much funnier and more concrete than his songs, too. Sure, everything is ominous in his work, but it's also banal, and these often admit they're ridiculous. To my surprise he is never obscure; to my relief he is never fatally wounded by the vicious retribution his many flaws invite. Gnarled urban spirituality. A strong, unlikely comparison: Bukowski. They both fixate on: plain poems about poems, bitter desire, nakedness, grandiose self-loathing, losers in love, and the significance of everyday things.(Look at this: "The art of longing's over and it's never coming back.") Speaking of Bukowski: is Cohen sexist? Arguable. For every slap in the face like 'Diamonds in the Mine', there are several tendernesses ('Portrait of a Lady') and self-aware apologies for lust. I would say: shocking and honest about patriarchal shapes, generally not unfeminist. ("You took my fingerprints away / So I would love you for your mind.") Moments of chastity inamongst the randy fury - for instance he never says 'God', always 'G-d'. Lots about the Holocaust too, mostly its banal consequences. Kiss me with your teeth All things can be done. whisper museum ovens of a war that Freedom won. The newer stuff is generally weak, because less wry, profane and specific. (4/5 with lots of 5/5 moments: 'French and English', 'Israel', 'A Working Man', 'Queen Victoria and Me', 'Montreal' 'Hydra 1960', 'A Cross Didn't Fall on Me', 'Disguises', 'It's Probably Spring'.)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dane Cobain

    Leonard Cohen's Stranger Music is a fantastic introductory collection to the work of Leonard Cohen, collecting dozens of his previously published works together to provide an in-depth examination of his writing between 1956 and 1992. It's also home to my favourite Cohen work - 'I Long to Hold Some Lady'. I won't reproduce it here because I encourage you to go and buy the book, but it's a good one. On top of this, it includes the lyrics to many of his most popular songs, including 'True Love Leave Leonard Cohen's Stranger Music is a fantastic introductory collection to the work of Leonard Cohen, collecting dozens of his previously published works together to provide an in-depth examination of his writing between 1956 and 1992. It's also home to my favourite Cohen work - 'I Long to Hold Some Lady'. I won't reproduce it here because I encourage you to go and buy the book, but it's a good one. On top of this, it includes the lyrics to many of his most popular songs, including 'True Love Leaves No Traces' and 'Don't Go Home Without Your Hard-On'. Cohen's a great writer, and his work is underrated and overlooked by many, but he's one of the rare few songwriters who also qualifies as a poet. He's earned his stripes, this one. Be sure to keep an eye out for Chelsea Hotel, which is one of his finest songs, and for Queen Victoria My Love, the beautiful ode that evolved the other way. Chelsea Hotel is a poem which is primarily a song; Queen Victoria is a song which is primarily a poem. With Cohen, the boundaries are often blurred, and it doesn't really matter whether he's singing or he's writing. You're going to love the outcome either way. Stranger Music makes a fantastic entry-level introduction to the repertoire of Leonard Cohen, because it contains such a vast selection of his work - even the most casual Cohen fan will have heard some of the songs which are included within the pages, and it's presented alongside the best of the best of the rest of his extended back catalogue. The only thing that's missing is his excellent prose - in fact, I'm of the opinion that his work as a novelist is on a par with, if not superior to, his work as a poet and a songwriter. Cohen is one of those rare writers who has a gift that transcends disciplines and overcomes cultural difference to create spellbinding texts that grab the reader by the proverbials. Writers like Leonard Cohen are a rare bunch, and so I'd encourage you to grab a copy of this book whether you're a hardcore fan, a new listener or even if you've never heard of him before. He has a way with words that few others can lay claim to, and his inimitable style makes for greatness.

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