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Book of Longing Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 9, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
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“. . .alive and contradictory. . . you should read the whole volume. . .” (LA Weekly)
Top Customer Reviews
But hold on - how do cigarettes qualify as a theme? Well perhaps they don't quite make it to the thematic level, but they do put in enough appearances to be seen as noteworthy.
Here is an excerpt from a poem entitled "The Cigarette Issue":
But what is exactly the same
is the promise, the beauty
and the salvation
the little Parthenon
of an unopened pack of cigarettes
and Mumbai, like the Athens
of forty years ago
is a city to smoke in
Cohen manages to weave a smoke into his deft handling of the tension and attraction of opposites in "What Did It", which follows in its entirety...
An acquaintance told me
that the great sage
Once offered him a cigarette,
"Thank you, sir, but I don't smoke."
"Don't smoke?" said the master,
"What's life for?"
And so it goes, dealing with life and death, love and lust, spirit and truth, and the path the author has walked in his quest for God, or G-d, as he chooses reverentially to refer to him.
While Cohen's wry humor and self deprecating detachment are at times in evidence, some verses are almost terrifying in their seriousness and immediacy. The following is from "By the Rivers Dark" which makes up the lyrics of a song by the same name on the excellent CD "Ten New Songs"...
then he struck my heart
with a deadly force
and he said, "This heart
it is not yours.Read more ›
This guy is Interesting with a capital "I." Reason enough to check out his long awaited book of poems, drawings and essays. Another reason is that unlike most books of poetry it is 'entertaining' without sacrificing intelligence. His wry humour is laugh out loud funny in the the short essay, "The Luckiest Man in the World" and poems such as, "Never Once."
He speaks of things that matter to him: his teacher, Roshi, pine trees, G-d, women, sex, laughter, mists, women and most of all from what I see the unending mystery of "self" (and women). When that self is Leonard Cohen it is worth stopping what you are doing and reading what he has to say.
Then, if you are not familiar with Cohen's music, you are missing some of the best written lyrics and music, ever.
Aside from being a creative genius in a multitude of artistic disciplines, Leonard Cohen is an old man. And with age comes wisdom. Take for example, this stanza from "Better."
better than art
is repulsive art
better than scripture
the tiny measure
of your improvement
No dummy, this guy. But then, you knew that already.
Twenty years in the making, Book of Longing [Ecco/HarperCollins]was written on southern California's Mount Baldy and in Los Angeles, Montreal and Mumbai. The author of twelve books and seventeen albums of music, this collection of poems follows his highly acclaimed 1984 publication, Book of Mercy. Containing his own wonderful, playful and provocative line drawings, Book of Longing is a celebration of one of contemporary times' best and truest flesh-and-blood examples of unlimited artistic expression.
Leonard Cohen's poetry is loaded with Bukowski's truth and simple statements, but without the ugliness. There are tons of love poems, reflections on drinking and God (oops, I mean "G-d"--he's Jewish, you know), loneliness, philosophy, aging, friendships, food, sober highs, celebrations of the body and sex, sex, sex. But it's all done with manners--a classiness Bukowski never knew-- a masculine sensitivity that's never maudlin, and a ripe, heavy, juice-laden life that few words in print have ever had the strength to carry.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love some of Leonard Cohen songs. a few poems are good. I bought it because I love the Bird on the cover.Published 1 month ago by Anjani
The famous singer and song writer Leonard Cohen, invites us into his world of beauty, women, and lonesome hours. An emotional journey, honest and direct, still, and sometimes lost. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rosa Frei
Written while at Mt Baldy - mix of worldliness and otherworldlinessPublished 3 months ago by phoenixmage
Essential for any Cohen lover. Not only that but great as a standalone without considerin the rest of his careerPublished 5 months ago by Suzie G.
He is the master . Wrote Hallelujah. Many years ago. This book. Is a must for cohen fans or anyone who needs to comunicate with the alien overlod for this sector. Apparently. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jason Morgan