Saturday, June 2, 2012

Poets Who Influenced Leonard Cohen

“I was 15 when I first became deeply touched by the rhythm and structure of words. I would haunt all the secondhand book shops in Montreal with this huge appetite for poetry. My two great heroes are WB Yeats and Fernando Garcia Lorca.” He quotes from Lorca’s Song Of The Morning Market: “ Under the Elvira arch let me see you pass/that I may lap your eyes and cry.”

“At the time I read that, I had absolutely no idea what those words meant but I just knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life,” he says. He then quotes from Yeats’ When You Are Old and Grey and says “As a young man, Yeats spoke to me in a way I could understand. Shakespeare I couldn’t understand, but Yeats I could. It was his subject matter and also I really admired the way he put his personal life on the line.

Leonard Cohen in an interview with Brian Boyd in The Irish Times, January 28, 2012