He died six years ago, at eighty-two, on November 7, 2016.
His books and records remain, because the Canadian was a poet, novelist and singer.
The guy was writing in Montreal.
Also in Hydra, a beautiful island in the Aegean Sea that in the sixties was a refuge for a certain artistic bohemia.
Or in room 424 of the mythical Chelsea Hotel in New York, where rock’s most famous fellatio took place, because Leonard Cohen –we’re talking about him–, who always showed off his discretion, on one occasion was the most indiscreet thing to do being and immortalized that situation he experienced with Janis Joplin in a song (Chelsea Hotel No. 2).
Leonard was in an elevator when the doors opened and Joplin appeared. She asked about singer and actor Kris Kristofferson. He replied, “You’re in luck miss, I’m Kris Kristofferson.” The answer made Joplin laugh and they say that at that very moment she stopped looking for the friend to go to the room with the Canadian poet. It was in 1968.
Leonard also wrote in California, both in the city of Los Angeles and on Mount Baldy, where he was confined for long periods in a Zen center.
And in India, the place where he went in search of answers to spiritual concerns that always persecuted him.
Surely, in addition, he must have written in different places in the world in which he acted, even during the last stage of his life, when being swindled by a representative he was forced to return to the road and then took a liking to the matter by stretching you tour them.
Cohen was always a cult artist.
Many of us consider him one of the greatest writers that ever existed, in addition to captivating with his deep and monotonous voice that he spread on not so many albums.
His ink had something prophetic about it.
He was someone who imposed closeness but with the words of an enlightened man.
It is difficult to explain, but those who agree to enter their universe cannot go through the experience without leaving transformed.
The celebrity fan list is of remarkable quality.
“If I wasn’t Bob Dylan, I’d like to be Leonard Cohen,” the Minnesota native once said.
By the way, Cohen received the Prince of Asturias of Letters in 2011, an occasion where he gave an emotional speech that reflected his love for Federico García Lorca. Dylan, meanwhile, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, which was highly questioned by various sectors.
Indio Solari is an admirer of Cohen, and in his book of conversations with Marcelo Figueras, Memories that lie a littlemade his opinion clear: “Beauty is such a subjective thing… But the Nobel should have been given to Leonard Cohen, before!”
Once, talking to Joaquín Sabina, he spoke to me about the Canadian – who was alive at that time – as “adult wisdom”.
“He is the best contemporary Anglo-Saxon poet,” added the Spaniard.
And Cohen’s influence also reached Patagonia.
In Bariloche, the artist Pablo Bernasconi translated Cohen’s poetry from the visual.
Thus, in 2020, the Edhasa publishing house published the trilogy inner landscapewith books representing Cohenian texts: How to speak poetry (How to say poetry), anthem (Anthem) Y Everybody knows (Everybody knows).
As can be seen, the dark phosphorescence –what a paradox– of Cohen’s work is perpetual, and it manages to reach this corner of the south.
His art can change in the way it is reflected, but, in one way or another – with Bernasconi’s illustrations, for example – we are lucky enough to be able to enjoy it.
The Master already said it: “In everything there is a crack / that is how the light enters”.
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Leonard Cohen and an influence that reaches Patagonia | El Cordillerano Newspaper