16 February 2007

The Life of Leonard Cohen

I believe the poem by Emily Dickinson which I posted earlier is a favourite of her fans and I wanted to thank John for dropping by and commenting.

Also, I had begun to ponder the nature of name and fame and this coincided with seeing I'm Your Man, a beautiful film about Leonard Cohen. Just watching it, my thoughts all turned to poetry literally. Poetry, that most remarkable solution to any problem. The film plainly shows he is revered by so many of his peers, and with good reason. He has a hypnotic personality and his elegiac songs soothe.

The thing is, most people have not even heard of him, but everyone knows that song in Shrek: Hallelujah, or it's more famous cover on the album Grace by Jeff Buckley. That album was voted number two by ABC viewers recently, with big thanks to this cover no doubt.

Is Cohen such a survivor because of his relative lack of fame for an artist of his stature; or is it just that he can't sing as many contest? I disagree with the bit about his singing - although the Buckley version of Hallelujah far exceeds the original - but I like to think it has something to do with his decision to enter a Buddhist monastery and become a Zen monk in 1996.

It is a great film, which doesn't hit the hyperbole too hard which this sort of thing can veer towards. It has cool use of filters, stills and the drawings of Cohen:

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.

from Democracy by Leonard Cohen.

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