A Nobel for Leonard

News about Leonard Cohen and his work, press, radio & TV programs etc.
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Post by Eva » Sun Apr 03, 2005 11:59 pm

My apologies, of course it is Paul Kennedy. (mea culpa) :(
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Post by Kush » Tue Apr 05, 2005 1:43 am

Kush, I thing Michel Garneau would agree with you!

Linda and Jurica...there are moments when one has strong opinions on something it is impossible to let the moment go without letting the world know (literally so with 21st century technology) what you think about something.
But that moment has passed now so I'll just wish Mr. Cohen Good Luck. :)
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Post by linda_lakeside » Tue Apr 05, 2005 2:19 am

Hi there!

Yes, if Mr. Cohen would like a Nobel, then I wish him good luck also!

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Post by tomsakic » Tue Apr 05, 2005 10:07 am

I am not sure that he wants Nobel - but who asks him at all... I am also not sure that he would win (there's more politics needed, isn't it), but if there's need for my signature on some petition, I'll give it gladly.
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Post by Joe Way » Tue Apr 05, 2005 4:50 pm

I really hope that Leonard has a chance to win the Nobel. I base this on purely selfish reasons as it would help justify my major interest in his work. As most of you know, a lot of my training has been in more "serious" literature. I have studied several artists in depth including Yeats, Henry James, and Thomas Hardy. While it is true that I am an amateur scholar in the sense that I don't make my living in this field, I do appreciate artists who seem to transcend the more pedestrian realms that more popular writers tread and who, by and large, are the ones considered for a major literary prize of this type. While politics and fancy certainly play a role in this selection process, those artists who during a lifetime of work assemble a body of literature that steadily climbs to the heights of aesthetic pleasure achieve their fame and reward through toil and talent. One can equivicate over the failure to recognize certain artists, yet it is hard to argue against the merits of those who have been so honored through a prize of this sort.

I agree that Leonard is a long shot. To my knowledge no Canadian has yet been named and this could be one factor in his favor. I think that the Nobel prize has been used to honor world literary traditions and recognizing Leonard would add additional homage to his predecessors and contemporaries in Canadian Literature like Klein, Layton and Scott.

The problem of his attachment to popular music and culture is certainly recognizable. However, I would make the case that prior to Dante all serious literature was written in either Greek or Latin. It took Dante's use of the vernacular Italian-an unheard of affront to the serious scholars of his day-to unlock the beauty and depth of the "common" tongue.

All and all, I am very pleased that there is an attempt by some thoughtful people to have recognized that the body of work that Leonard has assembled bears scrutiny in the world of literature.

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Post by Tchocolatl » Tue Apr 05, 2005 8:09 pm

linda_lakeside wrote:Tchoco? Are you aware of a Ted Kennedy? At the CBC, I mean. I thought it was Paul Kennedy.Linda.
... I did not have noticed, Linda :roll: ... What a great Lapsus Eva! :D It makes me think that you are very excited about this and take this as seriously as a state affair. I whish YOU good l... as well! Thanks to have broke the news here!! 8)
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Post by jarkko » Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:15 pm

This link comes from Marie:


CBC host leads Nobel effort for Leonard Cohen

Staff Reporter

What began as “a bit of a joke” – the nomination of Leonard Cohen for the Nobel Prize in literature – is starting to look like a serious campaign after the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival.

Paul Kennedy, host of the CBC Radio program Ideas, formally launched what he hopes will become a groundswell of support for the Montreal-born poet, songwriter, novelist and singer-songwriter taking his place besides the likes of Rudyard Kipling, William Butler Keats and T.S. Eliot.

Support for Cohen’s nomination was declared unanimous by Kennedy after a show of hands among the large audience at a March 2 evening session at the festival titled “A Nobel for Leonard.”

Kennedy said he has not spoken to Cohen, but that won’t stop him from making a submission to the Nobel committee in Stockholm.

Also making the pitch for Cohen on the panel were Governor General-Award-winning poet George Elliott Clarke, jazz singer Karen Young, John Abbott College English teacher Edward Palumbo, and poet/playwright Michel Garneau, who has translated Cohen’s work into French.

Clarke made the most impassioned plea for Cohen’s elevation to the literary pantheon.

Like Bob Dylan, Clarke said, Cohen, 70, is a troubadour whose poetry “bridges the divide between romanticism and modernism” and “speaks to the heart as well as the head.” Cohen is able to express universal themes in a language that is suited to both reading and singing, which is not easy, Clarke said.

“The divine is always in his work, in tandem with the physical and the vulgar… This tension gives rise to a sense of the absurd, the absurdity of life itself.”

Clarke noted the influence of the Hebrew scriptures on Cohen, especially of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, books that speak of both the longing for the divine and everyday realities.

He compared Cohen to the late poet A.M. Klein for his ability to capture bilingual and multicultural Montreal, and cited Cohen’s knack for “combining the Mediterranean and the Laurentian” (Cohen has spent a great deal of time in Greece).

Cohen is, above all, romantic, even “chivalrous,” according to Clarke. Women, at least in his ideal, Clarke said, are a conduit to the divine. He is in awe of “the power, majesty and – not equality – but superiority of women.”

Kennedy, 53, said he became hooked on Cohen in high school, when a teacher read Cohen’s Suzanne in class. The fact that a Canadian, one who was a “rock star” no less, could be suitable for an English literature class was thrilling to him.

“I understood Leonard Cohen was something very special. He has had a great influence on my life, and coloured the way I look at the world,” Kennedy said.

Cohen’s “genius,” Kennedy said, is finding new audiences in each generation. In fact, he compared him to Homer, who was also a poet and a singer, for his universality.

Kennedy recalled how through his university years he had to “struggle to convince my friends that Cohen is not depressing” and actually represents “a prime example of Canadian humour.”

Palumbo contended Cohen’s uninhibited novel about sexual obsession, Beautiful Losers, was underrated when it was published in the 1960s. Palumbo hailed it for bringing together of “the vulgar and the sacred,” as well as its evocation of Montreal. (Cohen, incidentally, turned down a Governor General’s Award for the novel.)

Young discovered Cohen as a Grade 10 student when she took a bus into Montreal to see a black-and-white movie about him “and fell madly in love.” To this day, she finds great meaning in his poetry.

Garneau was the only panelist to curb the enthusiasm a tad. He said that giving writers prizes is “a little dangerous” because their creativity may suffer or they may retreat into obscurity. He also questioned whether Cohen really wants a Nobel.
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Post by Anne » Sun Apr 17, 2005 1:50 pm

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ ... inment/Art

The Globe and Mail

Saturday, April 16, 2005


Leonard Cohen knows a thing or two about Buddhism, so he's probably chuckling, albeit affectionately, over the recent promotional efforts of some Canadians to get him the Nobel Prize for literature. Sure, it would be nice to see the Canadian poet-singer-songwriter win the $1.7-million, to be announced in October. But, at 70, this devotee of Zen master Joshu Sasaki Roshi knows that "all attachment leads to suffering," "nothing whatsoever is worth clinging to" and, hey, waiting rather than striving often delivers better results in the long run.

In short, it's Cohen's Canadian supporters, not the artist himself, who'll be the most crestfallen after the folks in Stockholm declare the 2005-2006 winner. A quick glance at the names of some recent Nobel laureates -- Kenzaburo Oe, Claude Simon, Dario Fo, Camilo Jose Cela, Wislawa Szymborska and Elfriede Jelinek, among them -- should convince anyone that the vox populi matters not a whit to the Swedish Academy.

In the meantime, let us put our faith in things more likely to occur. Like a new book of Cohen poetry, which his Canadian publisher, McClelland & Stewart, hopes to issue in 2006, the company's 100th anniversary year. And there's the fourth annual Leonard Cohen Night on Sept. 24 (three days after Leonard's 71st birthday) in Edmonton. One of the key speakers at this year's séance is Cohen biographer-University of British Columbia prof Ira Nadel, who's delivering an intriguing address titled "Searching for the Sisters of Mercy." (Sisters of Mercy, of course, is one of Cohen's greatest and best-known songs, and he wrote it in Edmonton in the mid-sixties after encountering two young female fans after a concert there.)
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Post by Jo » Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:56 pm

I think the point for many Nobel Prize winners is perhaps not so much the money or the prestige (most of them already have that) but rather the official recognition that their work has great merit.

I think both Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen deserve a Nobel Prize – but not for Literature. I have no idea how many categories there are, but I believe there are many and some of them rather obscure (I may be entirely wrong and I’m willing to stand corrected on this) so why not have a new category that recognises the influence that multi-talented artistes have had on the arts and on the world in general?

Mind you – as has already been pointed out in this thread, the awarding of the Nobel Prize, as is the case in almost all other instances, certainly does contain an element of convenience and political correctness so I don’t think it would too unrealistic to nominate either Dylan or Cohen.

Personally I would loooove to see Leonard Cohen win a Nobel Prize – even if it’s only so that I can smile knowingly at the ignoramuses who roll their eyes and mutter about razor blades and suicide whenever his name comes up.
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Post by jarkko » Tue Apr 19, 2005 7:36 am


A Canadian broadcaster is leading a movement to win LC the Nobel Prize. Check it out...
http://www.cbc.ca/story/arts/national/2 ... html?email

CBC host heads Nobel drive for Leonard Cohen
Last Updated Mon, 18 Apr 2005 14:54:40 EDT
CBC Arts
TORONTO - CBC Radio's Paul Kennedy is spearheading the latest campaign to get Canadian writer and musician Leonard Cohen a Nobel Prize for Literature.

Kennedy, a veteran broadcaster, documentary producer and host of CBC Radio's Ideas, recently attended Montreal's Blue Metropolis Literary Festival, at which he convened a public forum to nominate Cohen for the distinguished honour.

Leonard Cohen with Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.
The more Kennedy thought about the idea, the better it sounded, he told CBC News.

"I surprised myself when I suddenly figured, in a sort of watershed moment, you know this guy actually does deserve the Nobel Prize. It's the sort of wry, self-irony there. This man is an amazing poet. He's not just a good poet; he's an amazing poet," Kennedy said.

Cohen, whose first love is poetry, enjoyed later success as a recording star. A companion to the Order of Canada, Cohen had published two internationally acclaimed collections before the age of 30 and went on to write six more. His poems resonate with western readers, but are also appreciated by those to whom English is a second language, Kennedy said.

"He's a universal poet in a way that I can't think of anybody since maybe Homer – in western tradition anyway. And Homer, by the way, was a singer too."

The Swedish Academy's selection process for Nobel Prize-winners is shrouded in secrecy. Even the names of those nominated are not revealed to the public until 50 years after the fact.

Recent winners have tended to be novelists, including Elfriede Jelinek (Austria), J.M. Coetzee (South Africa), Imre Kertész (Hungary) and V.S. Naipul (Trinidad, U.K.). The last poet honoured with the $1.7-million prize was Wislawa Szymborska of Poland in 1996.

"My impression is that the Swedish Academy is a very august, conservative, very political body. They maybe don't like democratic groundswells," Kennedy said.

"Whether they take us seriously or whether they dismiss us because we are who we are, I almost sort of don't care. In a sense, the serious attention that is being paid to Cohen, just because we started this almost as a joke, is worth the price of admission already."

King Gustaff III founded the Swedish Academy in 1786 to maintain the "purity, vigor and majesty" of the Swedish language. First awarded in 1901, the Nobel Prize for Literature is chosen by a secretive five-member committee within the Swedish Academy, which administers the various Nobel Prize categories. The winners are announced annually in mid-October.


Kennedy will devote Monday evening's episode of Ideas to Leonard Cohen.
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Post by Tony » Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:34 am

There is an article in today's "Guardian" on the subject.
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Post by Andrew (Darby) » Thu Apr 21, 2005 5:02 pm

Below is another link to an article that discusses the merit of this nomination.


Cheers :)
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Post by peter danielsen » Thu Apr 21, 2005 5:32 pm

"My impression is that the Swedish Academy is a very august, conservative, very political body. They maybe don't like democratic groundswells" says kennedy

That exactly nails the case. In the Sweedish academy they dont like democracy. They are ideologues as most other leftwings academics.
When will the world understand that the idea of actualizing "beauty itself" smells of gas and flesh.

Ihope that if Leonard should get the "prize" that he will make a joke out of it.
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Post by lizzytysh » Thu Apr 21, 2005 7:27 pm

Oh, dear. Was sent a joke that some others here have no doubt received, as well, via their e-mail. It doesn't reeeaaally relate to Leonard, but in this context, is just so cute.

Dilemma ~ Good taste?/Poor taste? Appropriate?/Inappropriate? Post here/Don't post here?

Solution ~ Go to Joke thread in this section to read it. It's on Page 4 [near ~ if not at ~ the bottom]. I wondered why that thread was in this section. Now, I understand :wink: .

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Post by Tchocolatl » Fri Apr 22, 2005 2:38 pm

hope that if Leonard should get the "prize" that he will make a joke out of it.
Pete he will certainly laugh all the way to the bank.
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