In Memoriam - Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen
Sept 21, 1934 - Nov 7, 2016

Leonard Cohen was a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships. Cohen was inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He was a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honour.

“Leonard Cohen was the most beautiful man I have ever known.  His company was quickening in every way. The elegance and the seductiveness were the least of it. The example of his poise was overwhelming, more an achievement than a disposition, and much more than an affair of style.

“He lived in a weather of wisdom, which he created by seeking it rather than by finding it. He swam in beauty, because in its transience he aspired to discern a glimpse of eternity: There was always a trace of philosophy in his sensuality. He managed to combine a sense of absurdity with a sense of significance, a genuine feat. He was hospitable and strict, sweet and deep, humble and grand, probing and tender, a friend of melancholy but an enemy of gloom, a voluptuary with religion, a renegade enamored of tradition.

“Leonard was, above all, in his music and in his poems and in his tone of life, the lyrical advocate of the finite and the flawed. He was possessed by a lasting sensation of brokenness. He was broken, love was broken, the world was broken.  But this was not the usual literary abjection.  His work documents a long and successful war with despair. I greet you from the other side of sorrow and despair / With a love so vast and shattered it will reach you everywhere. The shattering of love has the effect of proliferating it.”
—from Leon Wieseltier, “My Friend Leonard Cohen: Darkness and Praise”