A Session With Poet Cohen: Rollicking 1966 Leonard Cohen Interview On Life & Death, Religion & Ritual, Relationship Of Art To Reality, Significance Of Poetry, LSD …

In researching a post about the 50th anniversary commemoration of Leonard Cohen’s 1966 visit to the University of Alberta – Edmonton, I discovered that A Session With Poet Cohen,1 a lively and entertaining interview with Leonard by reporters from The Gateway, the University’s student newspaper, can be accessed online.

This 1966 conversation between four University of Alberta students and the 32 year old Montreal native they describe as “probably the best and certainly the most spectacular Canadian poet of his generation” covers such topics as life & death, religion & ritual, the relationship of art to reality, the significance of poetry, differences between and similarities of songs and poems, LSD, and more. Read Cohen’s answer to the question, “Has anyone ever approached you about doing a record?” Consider his claim that he “created [Bob] Dylan.” Savor Cohen’s quotes, including

  • Q: “Would you rather make love or make poems? Or is it the same thing?” Leonard Cohen: “That depends on the girl.”
  • “I think we’re probably entering a great Egyptian period, where there are going to be very well-defined castes–priests, warriors, scribes.”
  • “I think we’re probably in one of the greatest periods for lyrics since Elizabethan times. Take that ballad Bobby Darin sings, If I Were A Carpenter–that’s as good a ballad as any Scottish border ballad. It really is right up there.”
  • “Every man is a prophet.”
  • “Anything that has a life and death sound to it is a song.”
  • “I don’t know if I’ll be anybody’s Moses—I might be their Leonard.”

All this and more can be found in A Session With Poet Cohen by Jon Whyte, Patricia Hughes, Terry Donnelly, and John Thompson. The Gateway, December 2, 1966.

Links to the two-page article follow:

Credit Due Department: Retrieved 27 July 2014 from Peel’s Prairie Provinces – University of Alberta Libraries

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 28, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.
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  1. A Session With Poet Cohen by Jon Whyte, Patricia Hughes, Terry Donnelly, and John Thompson. The Gateway, December 2, 1966 []

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