In naming Leonard Cohen a phenomenon, I am motivated by the quantity, quality and variety of his achievement. Still only thirty-three, Cohen has published four books of verse and two novels, and has made a national if not an international reputation by his poetry reading, folk-singing, and skill with the guitar. The best of his poems have lyrical grace and verbal inevitability; his two novels are as perceptive in content and as sophisticated in technique as any that have appeared in English since the Second World War; and his voice has a magic incantatory quality which hypnotizes his audiences, and especially teenage audiences, into a state of bliss if not of grace.
Opening paragraph of The Phenomenon of Leonard Cohen
by Desmond Pacey. Canadian Literature #34 (Autumn 1967)
Views Of Leonard Cohen – 1967
In 1967, Canadian Literature featured Leonard Cohen in its 34th issue, labeling the issue “Views of Leonard Cohen” and offering two articles on his work: The Phenomenon of Leonard Cohen by Desmond Pacey (p 5-23) and Leonard Cohen: Black Romantic by Sandra Djwa (p 32-42).
Both articles are valuable, frequently cited discussions of Cohen’s literary efforts, especially because they offer a contemporaneous perspective. Further, while Cohen was clearly considered the golden boy of Canadian poetry, he had, at the time of this publication, yet to be anointed a singer-songwriter icon; consequently, the inevitable filters of hero worship and hero worship backlash apparent in contemporary articles are necessarily (and happily) absent in these pieces.
Now, these difficult to find articles are available as part of the free PDF1 of this issue, which can be read or downloaded: Complete Issue: Canadian Literature #34 (Autumn 1967) Note: Site is slow to load.
- The Phenomenon of Leonard Cohen by Desmond Pacey: P 5-23
- Leonard Cohen: Black Romantic by Sandra Djwa: P 32-42
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 Feb 13, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com.
- The PDF files are text files, not graphic scans, and as such are searchable and text can be copies and pasted [↩]