“Anything that has a life and death sound to it is a song.” Leonard Cohen On The Elements Of A Song

Do you think that all valid poetry is song, or do you think there are other elements?


I think it’s song and… I think it’s all song. Even the books that don’t present themselves as songs, like The Guide for the Perplexed, all have that feeling. Whenever people are talking about that thing on how to live or the style with which you move through the world, whenever it gets down to that central thing, it always sounds like a song to me. Anything that highly organized, like the instructions on shoe polish tins – I’ve always liked because it has that life and death sound to it. Anything that has a life and death sound to it is a song.



Leonard Cohen


A Session With Poet Cohen by Jon Whyte et al. The Gateway: December 2, 1966 (The Gateway is the student newspaper of The University of Alberta)

Note: The Guide for the Perplexed by Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (best known as Maimonides), seeks to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy with Hebrew Bible theology, by finding rational explanations for many events in the text.

The Leonard Cohen Reading List

The Guide for the Perplexed is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books admired by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

All entries in the Leonard Cohen Reading List can be found at

The Original Leonard Cohen Reading List


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 August 3, 2014 at DrHGuy.com.

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