Articles on Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Cohen pictured in July 2008. His 2016 letter to his ‘muse’ Marianne Ihlen went viral after his death in the same year. Rolf Haid/EPA

Mythmaking, social media and the truth about Leonard Cohen’s last letter to Marianne Ihlen

Leonard Cohen's letter to his former girlfriend on her death bed became a viral phenomenon. But the words that circulated on social media were a paraphrased version, not his own.
In this October 2018, photo, candles lit by activists protesting the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are placed outside Saudi Arabia’s Consulate in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Canada’s moral negligence in Jamal Khashoggi’s murder

Ottawa's response to Jamal Khashoggi's murder doubles down on “human rights” rhetoric while failing to take action. It's a matter of the death of some in exchange for the livelihood of others.
Hydra 1960, including Leonard Cohen (bearded, left) and Redmond Wallis (centre right in cotton shirt). Photographer unknown. Reproduced with the permission of Dorothy Wallis.

Friday essay: a fresh perspective on Leonard Cohen and the island that inspired him

Leonard Cohen's final (posthumous) book was released in Australia this week. Another new book sheds light on Cohen's life on Hydra in the 1960s and the relationships he forged with Antipodeans seeking liberation there.
Nick Cave performing with The Bad Seeds in Budapest in June. His song lyrics, with those often melancholy, churchy organ chords, are dripping in references to what might be called sacredness. Zoltan Balogh/EPA

Friday essay: popular music’s search for the sacred in a secular world

The enquiry into sacredness is not over, it’s just beginning for the 21st century, and in wildly disparate modes and places. In music, Nick Cave, Hozier and Dr G. Yunupingu have led the way.
Leonard Cohen in 2008, just before he was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lucas Jackson/Reuters

As a writer-musician, Leonard Cohen was a one-off

Perhaps more clearly than Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen showed that songwriting can be a literary art. Within his apparently simple words lies a profound sense of playfulness and enigma.
Leonard Cohen in 2012 accepting an award for his song lyrics. Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

Goodbye Leonard, you brought us so much light

Leonard Cohen, who has died at 82, had both a tragic vision and a voice that was warm, funny and closely observant. His unique gaze helped fans see the world anew.

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