“When poetry strays too far from music, it atrophies. When music strays too far from the dance it atrophies.” Leonard Cohen Invokes Ezra Pound To Explain “I never wanted my work to get too far away from music”

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I don’t have any reservations about anything I do. I always played music. When I was 17, I was in a country music group called the Buckskin Boys. Writing came later, after music. I put my guitar away for a few years, but I always made up songs. I never wanted my work to get too far away from music. Ezra Pound said something very interesting, ‘When poetry strays too far from music, it atrophies. When music strays too far from the dance it atrophies.’

 

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: Cohen’s New Skin by Harvey Kubernik. Melody Maker:1 March 1975.

Note: The Ezra Pound reference is to this passage from his 1934 book ABC of Reading:

The author’s conviction on this day of New Year is that music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance; that poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music; but this must not be taken as implying that good music is dance music or all poetry lyric. Bach and Mozart are never too far from physical movement.

Credit Due Department: Photo by Walter Mori (Mondadori Publishers) – Public Domain, via Wikipedia.

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Apr 30, 2013 at DrHGuy.com.

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