The world is now in mourning for the loss of a poet, novelist and songwriter. Leonard Cohen passed away on the 10th November 2016 at the age of 82, leaving behind his children, Adam and Lorca Cohen.
The Canadian-born rock star and literary figure had been hailed as this era’s James Joyce after the publication of his novel Beautiful Losers in 1966. This would mark his greatness not only in the literary world but also in the music and lyrical genre. He had previously studied English at McGill University, and had also published a collection of poetry in the 50s. Beautiful Losers was then followed a year later by his debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, featuring momentous classics such as So Long Marianne, Sisters of Mercy and Suzanne.
Columbia Records then went on to produce Songs from a Room in 1969, which had received harrowing reviews by British music critics, but was much loved by their audiences, landing Cohen a performance at the Royal Albert Hall.
His collaborations include folk singer Judy Collins, producer Phil Spector, singer Jennifer Warnes and composer Philip Glass. From rock star to Zen monk, he then spent much of the 1990s in a monastery on Mount Baldy, where he was given a the name of Jikan – the Silent One. But this was preceded by a lifetime of politically charged yet spiritual writings and compositions, touching upon topical subjects such as AIDS, sexual and emotional ties, and war. All the way through the 2000s and 2010s, Cohen let the world know he was still watching through his own contributions of reflection and lyrical commentary.
Considering recent uprisings and changes in the world, you’d think that this was the worst of times for such an artist to depart. But then again, maybe an artist can only take so much.