“It’s such a curious activity — writing about the things that touch you deepest.” Hear Leonard Cohen Talk About Aging, Drinking, Book Of Longing, & More

Jo Meul alerts us to the May 2006 Shelagh Rogers CBC interview with Leonard Cohen on the release of his Book of Longing:

The subjects range from drawings and self portraits, to drinking, religion, longing and the Unified Heart. Moreover, Cohen reads several poems:

  • Layton’s Question
  • Fun
  • Only One Thing (he accidentally stumbles upon this one)
  • Disturbed This Morning
  • Titles

Leonard Cohen Excerpts

Getting older, of course, is the only game in town. It is really a very interesting process. My friend [Irving] Layton called it “the inescapable lousiness of growing old,” but I don’t know if I subscribe to this. I think it takes about 65 years to find your way around the block.

You become pretty thick-skinned after a while. People say all kinds of things about your work. It’s very nice that they say anything, to tell you the truth, especially about a book of poems.

It’s such a curious activity — writing about the things that touch you deepest. In a certain sense, you become the witness to the whole enterprise, and you feel yourself churning or your emotions activated but you don’t really feel them, you just describe them.

I was drinking three bottles of wine every night on a concert tour — one of the things I was looking for was a rest! Not that the schedule in a monastery is very restful. But I had a feeling that my life had gotten very chaotic, and I didn’t really have any other place to go. It wasn’t that I was interested in Buddhism or even a spiritual practice — I had a perfectly good religion and I wasn’t really looking for a religion — but what I was looking for was a kind of structure of significance, where I could be helpful and also tidy myself up.


Listen To Interview


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