“It is hard to be a poet maudit when you have a good tan” Leonard Cohen 1962

The quotation is from Leonard Cohen’s letter, written from Hydra in 1962, to his sister, Esther, in Montreal.1 Photo by Dominique Issermann.

DrHGuy Note re Poète Maudit: Poète maudit, (French: “accursed poet”), in literary criticism, the poet as an outcast of modern society, despised by its rulers who fear his penetrating insights into their spiritual emptiness. The phrase was first applied by Paul Verlaine in Les Poètes maudits (1884), a collection of critical and biographical studies that focused on the tragedy of the lives of the then little-known Symbolist poets Tristan Corbière, Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Arthur Rimbaud. Verlaine may have taken les poètes maudits from Baudelaire’s “Bénédiction,” in which a poet is described as untouched by the suffering and contempt he experiences. The term carries the implication of the low estate into which the poet has fallen from his ancient position as seer and prophet. (Source: Britannica)

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 July 23, 2014 at DrHGuy.com.

  1. From Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen by Ira B. Nadel (Random House of Canada: 1996). []

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