Here's a poster by Sune Bruus Hempler (https://www.instagram.com/sbheartart/). Words by Leonard Cohen from "Kanye West Is Not Picasso," a poem from The Flame.
Swedish duo First Aid Kit express their love for Leonard in this short video. They've also confirmed their devotion by doing numerous covers of his songs including this live performance of "Chelsea Hotel #2" with Jesper Lindell. https://youtu.be/u6Y5KEyP1Wg
Twenty-six years ago today Leonard released his record The Future. Leonard began working on the album when the Berlin Wall came down. He wrote about 80 verses for the song "Democracy." Here's one he discarded: "It ain't coming to us European style, concentration camp behind the smile. / It ain't coming from the East with its temporary feast. / Count Dracula comes strolling down the aisle."
Canada's The Walrus reviewed Leonard's latest book THE FLAME. They write about the notebook section of the book: “The Notebooks” aren’t a diary or journal... they are the physical manifestation of a lifelong aesthetic regime from an artist who had to write and draw the way the rest of us have to eat and sleep... “The Notebooks” seem mostly about form, about insisting on the necessary self-control and concentration as a poet. They are about being in the moment and about just being. They are Zen."
In 2016 the MAC Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal organized the highly acclaimed "Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything," a multidisciplinary exhibition combining visual art, virtual reality, installations, music and writing inspired by Leonard's life, work and legacy. MAC now announces that the exhibition will begin a world tour starting on April 19, 2019 at The Jewish Museum in New York.
Stan Lee was a legend whose flawed comic book superheroes inspired and entertained generations. Even Leonard couldn't resist putting on the Captain Marvel uniform to see how it fit. R.I.P. Stan Lee. Leonard's unpublished self-portrait was unearthed from the archives by Alexandra Pleshoyano, editor of THE FLAME.
Here is a translation of a deeply insightful review of THE FLAME from the German journal Jüdische Allgemeine. The old law Shortly before his death, the singer finished the work on his last book. Now it appears in German 26 Oct 2018 - by Maria Ossowski Here you read a book review, dear reader, and it begins with prohibitions. Just obey! 1.) Stay away from the book if you do not care about Judaism, meaning questions about life and death and contradictions in these topics. Cohen's poetry touches on the basic questions of existence. And Cohen liked to argue well and knowledgeably with the ancient scriptures. 2.) Never put The Flame by Leonard Cohen in the bookcase on the shelf under "Pop Literature." Rather next to Heine, Rilke, Goethe. Or the Shakespeare sonnets. Already at Hesse I would be careful. 3.) Never read Cohen's poetry and notes on the train. Otherwise you forget your goal. 4.) Never read the book online or as an e-book. His beauty needs paper. 5.) Never buy only one copy. Have the bookseller wrap three more for your most important people in wrapping paper. POEMS Leonard Cohen was a Jew, poet, lover, seeker, draftsman, musician. And in exactly this order; his roles were interwoven and complemented each other. "My father was a poet even more than anything else," is what Adam Cohen says in the very personal foreword to the book. "He understood that as his mission to G-d. The hyphen is an old Jewish tradition and further proof of his firm belief, which he combined with his own freedom." Cohen himself selected 63 poems for the book, while already severely weakened, which he had often worked on for decades and which he did not want to publish until the end of his life. They form the first part of the book. In the second one we read the poems from his last four albums. The third part is dedicated to his notes, which often contain ideas for his poetic work or songs. Everything can be read in English and congenially translated into German by outstanding lyricists and authors. Cohen has always written, at any time, at any occasion. When his son asked him for sweets money, Leonard told the boy to rummage through his pockets for bills or coins. Adam inevitably found there notebooks. Later, when he was looking for a lighter or a match with his father, Adam rummaged in drawers full of notes or notebooks. And when the son once asked his father if he had tequila, "he sent me to the fridge, where I found a frozen, lost notebook." SPIRITUALLY Writing, the script, created the foundation of his life according to ancient Jewish tradition, Cohen once said in an interview. Whether notes, poems or thoughts, Jewish themes are repeatedly drawn through Cohen's spiritual world. Despite spiritual devotion to Zen Buddhism and borderline experiences with drugs, the Jewish heritage was the basis of his art. In his notebook "9-17" it says: "What the old laws mean / why they distinguish between / what is clean and what is unclean / Symbols in the flesh / have been given you / So that you may know / When you may approach one another / I write this on the borderline / who insist that the full moon should be new / and the new moon should be full / I do not speak of sin / but only readiness and / hospitality & the wisdom / of restraint." The wisdom of moderation, the validity of the old laws, the modesty of God, all of this can be found in Cohen's work. Just like the opposite: "I was born in the heart of the bible & I know the holy pitch...", he notes and immediately turns his own piety with Heine's self-irony: "I could sell an angel paper wings. I'm an evil son of a bitch." BEAUTY Cohen notes could be arranged in many small, inconspicuous staplings he has held for years turning with his thoughts. But he has drawn a lot. These self-portraits in old age supplement his writings. The sharp features and wrinkles show transience, beauty and melancholy. Cohen himself once said that he had grown up abruptly when the Shoah entered his consciousness. A kind of hat surrounds his bald head in a 2004 portrait. "Seas of blood" is written on it. Under the chin of the collar: "oceans of regret". Not cruel enough, we read in the middle, not even remotely, is the world circumscribed with this image. The metaphor of the flames permeates Leonard Cohen's entire work, he also gives his book the title. "Word of Words / And Measure of all Measures / Blessed is the Name / The Name be blessed / Written on my heart / In burning Letters." ESSENCE Burning letters, eating flames. New arises. Cohen's estate is the essence of a life for art, for Judaism, for God. With a first edition of 20,000 copies, the publisher Kiepenheuer & Witsch shows the importance it attaches to this gem of book art. The online question from a reader in the Amazon commentary column proves what Cohen fans have been upset about anyway: "Why did not this poet ever receive the Nobel Prize for Literature?" Leonard Cohen: "The Flame - The Flame." Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2018, 352 p., 30 €
In reviewing Leonard's new book, THE FLAME, Anita Sethi of iNews concludes: "The Flame shows the great power of words to endure long after the person who has written them has passed away, and to offer relief from suffering and elevate the spirits – not only for the writer, but for the reader and listener, too."
BookPage reviews Leonard's book THE FLAME and finds it "full of gestures so intimate it’s almost a voyeuristic experience... one can’t help but feel privy to something raw and shining, both uncomfortably and movingly revealing, the final laying-bare of a unique chronicler of the human heart." https://bookpage.com/reviews/23266-leonard-cohen-flame#.W89f4GJKiS5
Leonard often said, "There is good wine in every generation." He would surprise interviewers when he recited a few lines of lyric from a rapper or hip hop artist's latest song. Leonard appreciated music of all kinds. His son Adam believes appreciation was Leonard's intention when he wrote the poem "Kanye West Is Not Picasso," included in Leonard's new book The Flame. Slate magazine agrees and explains further. You can listen to Michael Shannon recite the poem from the audio edition here: https://soundcloud.com/macaudio-2/kanye-west-is-not-picasso-from-the-flame-by-leonard-cohen