“I experienced Woodstock as a traffic jam, and I was very pissed off about it” Leonard Cohen Not Impressed With The 1960s – Except For “One Or Two Great Poets Like Dylan”

John Walsh: For a ’60s icon, Cohen is scathing about what he calls “the flabby liars of the Aquarian age.” A published poet at 21 in mid-’50s Montreal, he was never happily assimilated into the hippy-floral movement of the late ’60s, however many joints were being rolled on the sleeve of his second album, ‘Songs from a Room,’ in student rooms throughout 1969.


Listen, I experienced Woodstock as a traffic jam, and I was very pissed off about it… Oh sure _ nobody invited me … [John Walsh: Did he never want to be a rock star?] I was a little older than the people around the scene. And we had a peculiar kind of training in Montreal, we poets. We used to present our poems to each other, then see them savagely taken apart. The way you had to defend your work produced a kind of toughness that I never saw in the ’60s. Except for one or two great poets like Dylan, I saw a lot that was extremely fuzzy. Then when I found out how bad the acid had been, what a bummer it really was. I started to suspect that all was not as it had been advertised. Then when I got ripped off by some people who wore boots and had long hair, I knew for certain that nothing had changed.


Leonard Cohen


From Melancholy Baby by John Walsh. The Independent Magazine: May 8, 1993. Photo by Paul Townsend.

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). The basis of this entry was originally posted Jan 8, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric. Some editing and updating has taken place.

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