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Book Love: Leonard Cohen Selected Poems 1956 – 1968 // 05


Welcome to the 5th installment of Book Love: a series in which I tell you all about the resources, guides, and inspirational books that I love. Since April is poetry month around here I’ve decided to dedicate this month’s Book Love features to some of my favourite authors and collections of poems. Today’s book is Leonard Cohen Selected Poems 1956 – 1968.

I first came across this book while sitting cross-legged on the floor of a beautiful house on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. Craig and I were staying with friends while on vacation and the house where we stayed was brimming with books and maps and musical instruments. I always knew Leonard Cohen was an outstanding songwriter but at the time I really didn’t know anything about his poetry. When I opened this book I was shocked by how stark and simple and beautiful the writing was. Of course, I am drawn to his poems about love and people and heartbreak.

Book Love: Leonard Cohen Selected Poems 1956 - 1968 // 005I so love the unexpected images he uses. Take this excerpt from the poem above, for example:

“The naked weeping girl
is thinking of my name
turning my bronze name
over and over
with the thousand fingers
of her body
anointing her shoulders
with the remembered odour
of my skin”

When I can read that I can see her holding his memory in her hands like an object. It’s at once sad and sensual. Whenever I feel uninspired or that my life lacks beauty, I almost always reach for this book.

I should mention that I spent the rest of my trip in Victoria trying unsuccessfully to find this book. When I mentioned it to Craig’s brother, he pulled his own copy of a shelf and handed it to me. I have it now on long-term loan. Thanks, Eric.

Book Love: Leonard Cohen Selected Poems 1956 - 1968 // 005

Book Love: Leonard Cohen Selected Poems 1956 - 1968 // 005

That’s it for Book Love // 05. Let me know who your favourite poet is in the comments below. You can also check out the last post in the series, Book Love: The Songwriters Idea Book // 04.

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Renée is a queer, non-binary, disabled, and chronically ill creator based in Montreal. They are a singer, songwriter, pianist, YouTuber, and Periscoper. They are currently a student of jazz studies at Mcgill University and a freelance vocal coach for young and emerging singers.


  1. That is really a beautiful poetry. Thanks for post.

  2. Gardencat

    I love Leonard Cohen’s poetry! It is what kept me going in rough times in my life. So glad you like it too!

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