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Leonard Cohen

Poet, novelist, and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen has achieved almost iconic status amidst a huge global fanclub.

After attending McGill University in Canada, where he was born, Cohen wrote poetry and fiction through much of the 1960s, resulting in several books: a collection of poetry entitled Flowers for Hitler (1964), and the novels The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966).

His music, which was especially popular in the 70s and 80s, is famous for its emotionally rich and poetic lyrics. His work is known for its often explicit exploration of religion, isolation, sex, and complex interpersonal relationships.

Cohen has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and awarded the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Transcript: Leonard Cohen

Thousands by Leonard Cohen

Out of the thousands
who are known or want to be known as poets,
maybe one or two are genuine
and the rest are fakes,
hanging around the sacred precincts,
trying to look like the real thing.
Needless to say,
I am one of the fakes
and this is my story.

Mission by Leonard Cohen

I’ve worked at my work
I’ve slept at my sleep
I’ve died at my death
and now I can leave.

Leave what is needed
and leave what is full
need in the spirit
and need in the whole.

Beloved, I’m yours
as I have always been,
from marrow to pore
from longing to skin.

Now that my mission
has come to its end
I pray I’m forgiven
the life that I’ve led

the body I chased
it chased me as well.
My longing’s a place
my dying a sail.

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