Book Review for Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen:
Subterranean Blue Poetry
Volume VI Issue I
Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen
Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry
Title of Book: Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen
Contributors: Ahmad Al-Khatat, Rebecca Anne Banks, Brook Bhagat, Aha Blume, Chris Brauer, R. Bremner,
Bret E. Burks, R.T. Castleberry, Adrian Ernesto Cepeda, Josh Darling, Henry Denander, S.D. Gelber,
Eugene Goldin, Norbert Gora, Mathias Jansson, Michael Lee Johnson, Debbie Jones, Sarah Katz, Rebecca
Ladron de Guevera, Dennis Lee, Susana Lee, Nina Lewis, Rick Lupert, Clint Margrave, Agnes Marton,
Luke R. J. Maynard, Max Mundan, Rebecca Hart Olander, J.C. Olsthoor, Richard Paul, Lisa Prince,
Winston Plowes, Joseph S. Pulver Sr., Stephanie Stickney, Barbara Ungar, Lenore Weiss, Daniela Voicu
Publisher: Nocturnicorn Books
Date of Publishing: 2017
“Whose eyes to compare
With the morning sun?”
- from For Anne by Leonard Cohen
Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen is a fantastical collection of poetry inspired by the man, the Poet/Bard, the lover, the father, his quotes, songs, poetry, photos . . . this poetry rises. The Poets are international, from as afar afield as Iraq, Romania, Sweden and Germany as well as from New England, New York, Los Angeles and the United States, Montreal and Canada. And they are diverse in their occupations, including, students, teachers, writers, editors, publishers, marketers, songwriters, musicians, photographers, artists, psychotherapists, art critics, mediators, embalmers, veterans, often wearing many hats. This is an Anthology published on the first anniversary of the Canadian Icon, Leonard Cohen’s death, the book sales going to the Red Cross charity organization.
This work is a celebration in surfacing, from sorrow, from brokenness into light. All of the works celebrate Leonard Cohen, his life, his writings, his songs, memories of performances, his music, love affairs, memories and dream memories. And from there drift into glimpses of the film reel of the Poet’s daily life, food and drinks, mother poems, stories of broken love affairs, allusions to obliteration/apocalypse, appeals for peace.
Some of the poems are written in Mr. Cohen’s post-Beat, post-modern style, most are New Age Renaissance Republique of Poetry offerings, some are narratives. Most are enigmatic with broken thought train, sorrowful, sometimes surrealistic, a product of a violent culture. Highlights include She Glowed on this Terrace with his Guitar by Adrian Ernesto Cepeda, inspired by a photograph of Marianne Ihlen, The Spinster’s Fingernails by Stephanie Stickney, the story of a love affair; Photo Book by Lenore Weiss, a story that begins with a luncheon for veterans and ends with the line “Injustice everywhere wears the same face”; turn you by Sarah Katz, a story of a love affair; On the Death of a Poet by Chris Brauer, listening to the new Leonard Cohen CD: You Want It Darker; Lard by Agnes Marton, a “mad” letter to “Paulie”; The Patron Saint of the Loveless Lover by Rebecca Landron de Guevara, a story of spending nights alone. All of the poetry is considered and like dogs in the rain we shake off our sorrow in our writing.
One of the most explosive New Age stylistic reads comes at the end of the book, titled: Will Home Remember Me? by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. The long poem is inspired by the Leonard Cohen songs Going Home, Closing Time, First We Take Manhattan, Tower of Song and Take This Waltz. The poem writes as a rambling, surrealistic, enigmatic, in broken sequences of thought, as if a Ulysses-like travelogue in poetry. As if a reminiscence of “Bo Jangles” on the road, of times past, the Old World meets New World village, deep in sorrow, the push and pull of near and far, close and home, someone living largely in his thoughts, a conjectured love affair, stories of Charlotte Rampling (a black girl), waiting for the train, some underground violence, a story of gypsies, unbuttoning her blouse. It was the sort of poem that left you wondering what it was all about, as a certain Zen of nothingness and everything descends, an eloquence in poetry.
It is a difficult universe when even the greats die, like looking behind your skirt, you always expect them to be there, as if expected skies. Yet, invariably, eventually even the greats succumb to the last song . . . the blue streets of Montreal will forever be haunted by the magic of Leonard Cohen. An exceptional tribute to the life and works of a great Artist, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen.