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Which Notebooks Did Leonard Cohen Use?

Posted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:21 pm
by LaurierTiernan

Being a songwriter and a writer in general myself, I’ve noticed that many writers (myself included) take a fondness to specific brands/types of notebooks. Does anyone know which ones Mr.Cohen liked best? I’ve seen scans online of ones with pages that are numbered on the top right hand corner, but I don’t know which brand they might be.

Re: Which Notebooks Did Leonard Cohen Use?

Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:25 am
by B4real
Hi Laurier,
Welcome to the forum!

I remember Leonard saying he used all sorts of notebooks including the inexpensive ones from chain stores. He did like the small spiral ones that would comfortably fit into his pocket for easy access when inspiration came but I can't remember any specific brand.

The image below is some of his early notebooks in the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the Uni of Toronto, Canada.
Another image and some discussion about the library here ... er#p362578

Plus an up to date link relating to LC there - ... k=Anywhere

There are forum members who have been to view more of LC's donations to this library and they may remember some later notebooks. Maybe if you are near Toronto you could look for yourself :)
Anyway, I hope this has helped a little.

Re: Which Notebooks Did Leonard Cohen Use?

Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:35 am
by LisaLCFan
Here's one of Leonard's later notebooks, dated from 2011, clearly displaying the brand "Writersblok" at the bottom of the page (an upgrade from those little spiral bound memo pads!).
Cohen 2011 notebook.jpg

Re: Which Notebooks Did Leonard Cohen Use?

Posted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:40 am
by B4real
Well spotted, Lisa 8)
And it made me go and look at my copy of The Flame published 2018 which those two pages are in on page 246 and I discovered a couple of other interesting notebooks but unfortunately, no actual brand name.

On page 221 with no date there are handwritten poems on squared grid or graph paper.
Page 129 contains a 2007 sketch and poem in a blank and lined spiral notebook.

Also in the U of T image above, on the top right hand corner Leonard has scribbled a few words of a poem -
“This cigarette It’s clear to me/ that you will have to deceive me ....” on a piece of toilet paper :razz:

..... So I guess when the urge arose, no matter where he was or what was at hand, he found a way to write it all down!

I’ve just remember these words that Adam said about his father’s notebooks in his foreword of The Flame.
Here's a link from The Sydney Morning Herald about it and a page from the square grid notebook is also shown - ... 50dgg.html
As a kid, when I would ask my dad for money to buy sweets at the corner store, he'd often tell me to search the pockets of his blazer for loose bills or change. Invariably I would find a notebook while going through his pockets. Later in life, when I would ask him if he had a lighter or matches, I would open drawers and find pads of paper and notebooks. Once, when I asked him if he had any tequila, I was directed to the freezer, where I found a frosty, misplaced notebook. Indeed, to know my father was (among many other wondrous things) to know a man with papers, notebooks, and cocktail napkins - a distinguished handwriting on each - scattered (neatly) everywhere. They came from nightstands in hotels, or from 99¢ stores; the ones that were gilded, leatherbound, fancy, or otherwise had a look of importance, were never used. My father preferred humble vessels. By the early 1990s, there were storage lockers filled with boxes of his notebooks, notebooks containing a life of dedication to the thing that most defined the man. Writing was his reason for being. It was the fire he was tending to, the most significant flame he fuelled. It was never extinguished.