Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Debate on Leonard Cohen's poetry (and novels), both published and unpublished. Song lyrics may also be discussed here.
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby vlcoats » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:50 pm

Mat- Thank you for your kind response. I was wondering if what I had written even made any sense. - V
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Jean Fournell
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby Jean Fournell » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:01 pm

It most certainly does, Vickie!

And I'm all with Mat's comment.
___________________________________________________
Therefore know that you must become one with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the target
to say nothing of the horse.

... for a while
... for a little while...

(Just a filthy beggar blessing / What happens to the heart)
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby B4real » Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:54 am

Vickie, I've always loved the honest way you write from the very beginning and this last post of yours is no exception! Whether I comment or not please know that I totally enjoy what and how you write :D
vlcoats wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:07 pm
Wish me luck….
Now I know you don't need any of that but I thought you might be interested that Leonard wrote a poem titled with those very same words and here it is :) https://books.google.com.au/books?id=KB ... ck&f=false

Wish Me Luck
a fresh spiderweb
billowing
like a spinnaker
across the open window
and here he is
the little master
sailing by
on a thread of milk
wish me luck
admiral
I haven’t finished anything
in a long time


~ Book of Longing (page 67)

Below is a link to an interview where he recites this poem and talks about other things -
Leonard Cohen talks about his early years as a poet in Montreal; his novel, Beautiful Losers; his songs; and now, ten years since his last book and fifty years since his first, the vicissitudes and recoveries that led to the art, lyrics and poems in his new Book of Longing.
https://www.kcrw.com/news-culture/shows ... nard-cohen
If you're not ready for Book of Longing yet don't listen, but he does talk about Beautiful Losers :)
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby vlcoats » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:44 am

Jean and B4-

I am not too proud to admit that I was hoping I would hear from you. Thank you Jean for letting me know that I was understood. And B4- I didn't see this warning at first:
B4real wrote:If you're not ready for Book of Longing yet don't listen, but he does talk about Beautiful Losers :)
I was very intrigued when the interview said that Beautiful Losers was required reading somewhere, but as I tried to listen to find out just where and why, I realized Leonard and the interviewer were mostly talking about Book of Longing, so I skedaddled, ha-ha.

I would like to say more about Beautiful Losers now, because I thought I was at a spot where things were starting to come together,...there at the beginning of #38 when even The Capital Letters Were Revealing Awesome Truths, and at #43 "In arctic isolation a man is writing, a man who hates his memory and remembers everything" ....but then I got lost at #47. Maybe I just needed a nap.

We are in the middle of moving again, and will be going to Wyoming Sat-Tue for Dave's mother's 80th birthday celebration. I am taking Beautiful Losers and my headphones and will try to keep from hiding behind either them. ;-)

Vickie
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby B4real » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:32 am

Vickie, I thought these links would be more suitable for you at this stage. This is an all-time classic recording of LC from 1966 in New York. The first YouTube link has the same content as the second link but you can download all or individual segments with the latter plus info and album artwork. I first used the “Big O” site nearly ten years ago and it was reliable and most helpful. I haven’t used it lately but I would think it’s still that way now.

I’ll list all the components for you to see the ones you haven’t read yet in Beautiful Losers so you can leave them out for now or wait until you’ve read them in your book. The poems you are already familiar with .... and dare I say it – the last item no. 12 very much acquainted with, ha! I think this was the first public appearance of this song before it was re-named and officially released the next year in 1967 on his first album.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RoDeSMtsVc

http://bigozine2.com/roio/?p=2737

92nd Street YM-YWHA Spoken Word
01. Intro by Leon Edel
02. Catherine Tekakwitha - intro by Leonard Cohen
03. Beautiful Losers excerpt, Book Two.
from: "There! Done! Dear friend, I did what was necessary!"
to: "...THE FLOOD IS REAL AT LAST"
04. Beautiful Losers excerpt, Book One.
from: "I do not know What bravado compelled me to come up
here without my transistor radio?"
to: "Remove yourself from this treehouse, Pain, you
tree-climbing frog, large as industry."
05. Intro by Leonard Cohen
06. Beautiful Losers excerpt, Book Two.
from: "You plagued me like the moon..."
to: "...Your hand's gone limp."
07. Intro by Leonard Cohen
08. Beautiful Losers excerpt, Book One.
from: "Now it is time for Edith to run, run between the old
Canadian trees..."
to: "...Natural Law they felt, but Collective Law they
obeyed."
09. "You All in White" - from The Spice-Box of Earth (p. 17)
10. "For E.J.P." - from Flowers for Hitler (p. 81)
11. "You Have the Lovers" - from The Spice-Box of Earth (p. 37)
12. The Traveler (The Stranger Song)

Enjoy!

btw - you guys are experts now at moving so I reckon you'll take it all in your stride :)
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby vlcoats » Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:36 am

B4-
Thank you for the links! Now that we have normal internet, limited only by speed, I feel like the proverbial kid in a candy store. In fact, just last night, I found out that we can access YouTube on our television now and watch it on the "big screen". I know that sounds as if I am coming from the backwoods somewhere, but when you have satellite internet like we did in Idaho, you can't really stream anything to any extent and that was all that was available there. Just last night, I watched a video of Leonard visiting Hydra! 8)

I wasn't able to access the downloads on the Big O site. It kept saying, "The requested document was not found on this server." but I will look into again when we get back from Wyoming.

Thank you again for your generosity B-4!

Talk again soon!
Vickie
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby B4real » Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:51 am

My pleasure, Vickie :D And it's great that you have normal internet now!

That Big O link was working fine yesterday from my position and is still OK today. It must be something from where you are. The site has a short re-direction for spam and then it goes straight onto the page for 92nd Street YM-YWHA. Hopefully it will be OK for you when you get back.
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
Lilla Rogers
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby Lilla Rogers » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:20 am

B4real wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:32 am
http://bigozine2.com/roio/?p=2737
Thank you for this usefull link!
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby B4real » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:12 am

Hi Lilla, firstly, welcome to the forum!

Secondly, I'm very glad to be of help!

And thirdly, it's nice to know that link works for you, so I reckon it will do so for Vickie and others too :D
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
Lilla Rogers
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby Lilla Rogers » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:28 am

Almost everything works. but the links to mp3 are dead
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B4real
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby B4real » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:43 am

Oh dear, Lilla and Vickie you are both right unfortunately :( I never checked the actual individual links til now!

So sorry about that :oops:
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby vlcoats » Sun Aug 05, 2018 6:19 am

Don't be sorry B4! You have been so generous in what you have shared, with links and lyrics already, and besides, I am still new to Leonard. With what he has “officially” recorded and published, I have plenty on my plate already! Maybe when I look for more, the links will be working again, lol.

We are back in Oregon and in the middle of our move, but I wanted to comment briefly on where I am in Beautiful Losers… page 158.... I had hoped to be further.

Since last I commented on it, I have been really taken by the scene in #42…..and the stained tablecloth. I love the way Leonard described it, so measured and … bit… by… bit. And I loved how Catherine stands up slowly and says, “- I guess I owe you all an apology”. What a perfect end to that chapter. It makes me want to learn more about her.

I also liked #50, not just for the frank way our hero says to F “you lousy wife-fucker, explain yourself!” but I also loved how that ‘chapter’ played out with the scene where he says, "I know nothing about love, but something like love tore the following words from my throat with a thousand fish hooks….” (He goes on to say "BECAUSE I NEED YOU") I found that line interesting, because it was on the opposite end of the spectrum from the line in the movie Forrest Gump, where Tom Hanks says, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.” Why would our hero in Beautiful Losers say that he knows nothing about love when obviously that is what he is professing to F in that very scene? Love is one of the most honest, easy to empathize with of all the emotions, so I doubt if he meant it when he said, “I know nothing about love”. We all know about love.

I won’t have a chance to read much more for a week or two, but I'd like to focus on the story here for a second and the second book, A Long Letter from F. .......

I want to like F, I really do, because his ‘wisdom’ and take on life seem to be a big focus in this book, but I keep thinking that he is going to hurt our hero, so I am not sure if I want to hear what he has to say in this “long letter” of his. So far, Mr. F seems very full of himself and a bit of a dink (to use a Canadian phrase from my youth). I am not so sure if his instructions are going to help, and maybe the things he will reveal in this letter aren’t necessary to reveal. I am curious… what will his point be, or will he even have one? I hope he doesn’t just want to keep torturing our hero, because that is what he seems to be doing so far. Maybe I am oversimplifying it... I tend to do that when I don't get something.

I will write again when I have a chance to read more... but if you think that what F is going to reveal in this letter will make me mad enough to throw the book across the room like I did at the end of Gone with the Wind, please let me know. After all, it is just a story. ;-)

Vickie
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mat james
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby mat james » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:20 am

:)
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
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vlcoats
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby vlcoats » Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:43 pm

At last. I finally had the chance to finish reading Beautiful Losers while coming back from picking up our donkeys in Idaho to bring them home to Oregon. The 7-hour trip was uneventful except for my worrying whether the donkeys were hot, hungry, thirsty, scared, car sick, or worse- had somehow burst through the metal door of the trailer. Finishing Beautiful Losers was a perfect distraction.

First off, let’s get the whole debacle of Argentina out of the way. I am not sure whether that was a sex scene, a comic interlude, or maybe just drug-induced rambling. I am also not sure of the purpose of it all. In fact I am not sure of the purpose of Mr. F in general. It is apparent throughout the book that he is central to the theme and direction of the book, but I didn’t care for him much. I am obviously missing something. I loved Leonard’s tongue-in-cheek story telling style and the humor that he wove here and there among the various forms of stimulation and torture that ended in orgasm or lack of one as the case may be. The Jesuit torture scene was disturbing, not so much because it was horrible (of course it was horrible, it was torture), but because it gave the scene the flavour of a bad acid trip. I did love towards the end of the Argentina episode (page 180 in my edition), where Leonard describes the night... “How soft the night seemed, like the last verse of a lullaby.” Again a master of mood!

I do have to say that if I were a young woman meeting Leonard Cohen after this book came out, and if he were to approach me for a romantic interlude; I would have been scared to death. I would have gone through with it, of course (right? ;-) ), but I would have been very intimidated and convinced that he would regret his decision and be bored to death by me. It is hard to equate this aspect of him to the man Jennifer Warnes was speaking about when she described him as having, “… overwhelming gentleness...” http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/mu ... story.html

Back to the story…. Although I liked the first half of the book better than the second half, I thought the story of Tekakwitha in Book Two was very interesting and wondered how much of it was true. From the little I have read about her, it appears to be true for the most part. I did miss hearing from our hero again in Book Two, and I wrongly assumed the epilogue would be about him. I did love the beginning of Book Three though, where Leonard describes the coming of spring and how it “sneaks into Quebec, into our villages, between our birch trees.” His description of how bright and fleeting spring is in Montreal was some of my favorite writing in the book. But the ending itself, in fact most of the epilogue, was a disappointment for me. Maybe I just didn’t get it. I feel a little like the Emperor in the scene from Amadeus, where after listening to one of Mozart’s compositions, he says,

EMPEROR: It's very good. Of course now and then - just now and then - it gets a touch elaborate.
MOZART: What do you mean, Sire?
EMPEROR: Well, I mean occasionally it seems to have, how shall one say? [he stops in difficulty; turning to Orsini-Rosenberg] How shall one say, Director?
ORSINI-ROSENBERG: Too many notes, Your Majesty?
EMPEROR: Exactly. Very well put. Too many notes.
MOZART: I don't understand. There are just as many notes, Majesty, as are required. Neither more nor less.
EMPEROR: My dear fellow, there are in fact only so many notes the ear can hear in the course of an evening. I think I'm right in saying that, aren't I, Court Composer?
SALIERI: Yes! yes! er, on the whole, yes, Majesty.
MOZART: But this is absurd!
EMPEROR: My dear, young man, don't take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It's quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that's all. Cut a few and it will be perfect.
MOZART: Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCud8H7z7vU

That scene always made me laugh. I empathize with both Mozart and the Emperor. Mozart was a genius and burned with the kind of fire most of us can only warm our hands to, while the emperor struggles with a lack of understanding that trips us all up from time to time.

For now… I will move on to The Energy of Slaves.

Vickie
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Re: Along the way... Discovering Leonard's poetry and novels

Postby its4inthemorning » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:12 pm

It has been years since I read Beautiful Losers, the scene I remember most vividly is the one with the spilled wine. There are others, but they are lost in the fog of passing time. Maybe a quick re-read is in order. While nothing, absolutely nothing, about sex can shock us these days, not so when Beautiful Losers was written. Given that Leonard was counting on his writing for income at the time, I wonder why he felt writing Beautiful Losers was a good career move?
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 4-8 - MONTREAL "TOWER OF SONG" CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!

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