Leonard Cohen

Topics: Leonard Cohen, Various Positions, Suzanne Pages: 5 (1745 words) Published: May 4, 2013
Leonard Norman Cohen,  is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality, and interpersonal relationships. He was born on 21 September 1934 in Westmount in Quebec, into a middle-class Jewish family.. His father, Nathan Cohen died when Cohen was nine years old. Cohen attended Westmount High School, where he studied music and poetry As a teenager, he learned to play the guitar, and formed a country-folk group called the Buckskin Boys. In 1951, Cohen enrolled at McGill University, where he became president of the McGill Debating Union. Poetry Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956) was published as the first book in the McGill Poetry Series the year after Cohen's graduation. The book contained "poems written largely when Cohen was between the ages of fifteen and twenty," and Cohen dedicated the book to his late father. After completing his undergraduate degree, Cohen spent a term in McGill's law school and then a year (1956-7) at the School of General Studies at Columbia University. Consequently, Cohen left New York and returned to Montreal in 1957, working various odd jobs and focusing on the writing of fiction and poetry, including the poems for his next book, The Spice-Box of Earth (1961. Fortunately for Cohen, his father's will provided him with a modest trust income. This book helped Cohen gain critical recognition as an important new voice in Canadian poetryCohen continued to write poetry and fiction throughout much of the 1960s and preferred to live in quasi-reclusive circumstances after he bought a house on Hydra, in Greek . He lived there with Marianne C. Stang Jensen Ihlen (born in Norway 1935), and the song "So long Marianne" was written to and about her. Their relationship lasted for most of the 1960s. While living and writing on Hydra, Cohen published the poetry collection Flowers for Hitler (1964), and the novels The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966). His novel The Favourite Game was an autobiographical bildungsroman about a young man who discovers his identity through writing. Beautiful Losers received a good deal of attention from the Canadian press and stirred up controversy because of a number of sexually graphic passages. In 1966 Cohen also published Parasites of Heaven, a book of poems. Both Beautiful Losers and Parasites of Heaven received mixed reviews and sold few copies.In 1967, disappointed with his lack of financial success as a writer, Cohen moved to the United States to pursue a career as a folk music singer-songwriter. His song "Suzanne" became a hit for Judy Collins and was for many years his most covered song. Cohen's first album  Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967). became a cult favorite in the US, as well as in the UK. Several of the songs on that first album were covered by other popular folk artists, including James Taylor and Judy Collins.Cohen followed up that first album with Songs from a Room (1969) (featuring the often-recorded "Bird on the Wire") and Songs of Love and Hate (1970). In 1970, Cohen toured for the first time, with dates in the United States, Canada and Europe.Cohen had a relationship beginning in the 1970s with the Los Angeles artist Suzanne Elrod, with whom he has two children: a son, Adam, born in 1972, and a daughter, Lorca, born in 1974 and named after poet Federico García Lorca. Cohen and Elrod split up in 1979.Suzanne", one of his best-known songs, refers to Suzanne Verdal, the former wife of his friend, the Québécois sculptor Armand Vaillancourt, rather than ElrodBeginning around 1974, Cohen's collaboration with pianist and arranger John Lissauer created a live sound praised by the critics. They toured together in 1974 in Europe, and in US and Canada in late 1974 and early 1975, in support of Cohen's record New Skin for the Old Ceremony, In 1976 Cohen, now without Lissauer, embarked on a new major European tour, with a new band and major change in his sound and arrangements, again, in support...
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