Book Review for Stranger Music:

Subterranean Blue Poetry

Volume VII Issue XII


Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Stranger Music

Author: Leonard Cohen

Publisher: Leonard Cohen Stranger Music Inc.

Date of Publication: 1993

Pages: 142

"the last drop of 30 below
the unwritten lives
is it easy
to fall in love?

your hair all soft and long
a sleeping golden storm . . ."
- from In Shop Windows by Rebecca Anne Banks

"I was far away from home,
haunted and tired with travel,
in a cheap hotel room . . ."
- from On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Stranger Music by Leonard Cohen is a retrospective of his life's work entire, song lyrics and poetry books until 1993, that shines in the New Age Renaissance Republique of Poetry. Leonard Cohen was a renowned and celebrated Poet/Singer/Songwriter/Novelist bborn in Montreal, the "Golden Buddha" of the French peoples of Canada and Poets everywhere. He studied at McGill University and was inducted into The Canadian Music Hall of Fame, The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, the order off Canada, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Glenn Gould Prize and the Prince of Asturia Award. He is known for his love songs, ballads, hauntingly beautiful music with stark, beautiful lyrics and poetry.

This Writer's first experience of Leonard Cohen was Summer 1967, riding around in the front seat of my step-father's car, not being big enough to see over the dash, a space catapult through thhe streets of Toronto with Leonard Cohen's Suzannne playing over the car radio. It was the 1960's, a revolution in culture, as the young people danced into life after W.W. II in a celebration of rock 'n roll music, free love, peace, "flower power", "ban the bomb", drug experimenttion, an experiment in the new freedom. Hippies and flower children, the poets and artists, musicians and songwriters, in an awakening. It was a time of hope and rebirth, of seeking new answers, the new deal of emancipation, finding our hearts and souls amongst the fallen rubble of the Old World Society. Out of the milieu of the Kennedy brothers, Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King, Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, Samuel Beckett, Andy Warhol, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Janis Joplin, Ella Fitzgerald, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Joni Mitchell, Buffy St. Marie, Robert DeNiro, Beat Poets, Confessional Poets, Pop Art and Rock n' Roll, Leonard Cohhen began to rise as one of the Bard's of the season. A life lived in poetry, a photo in time, the Old World Society blossoming into the New Age. This poetry at its root is a dissertation in love as war. N.A. as an overconstructed universe as Cohen explores all the nuances of absurdist power constructs in intimate relationships. A series of loves/wars in triumphant victory uuntil the space between. The poetry is an illustration of resilience, how people can survive and live through thhe most cruel and unusual circumstances, the violence of an ended love relationship, writing into the pain, writing the darkness into light, saving himself and us too. An economy of loss, the dispossessed, the world as a movie, in the audience, on the screen. A symphony plays in the background of orchestrated violence of the state of the Old World chaos, it is an exploration of "End Game".* Even with the birth of the new season perhaps not much had changed and the brilliance of the role of the Artist. The written word as celebration, the everyday in beauty, the everyday in darkness, a truthtelling.

This post-modernist poetry is in the Beat Poet drive, with an elegant drift into the new Confessional form. There is a lack of rhyming, except accidentally, the stream of consciousness narrative often travels in immediate experience and the song lyrics present as lyrical candy. The images contrast and celebrate nature with profound beauty and wisdom, as if sunlight lights across a bare open space, opening the darkness. Sometimes the images brush with symbolism.

A fantastical poetry offering, a truthtelling of the N.A. diaspora, a beautiful celebration of the light despite the darkness of ended love affairs, a lesson in survival. The life's work of one of the most gifted and celebrated Bards of the New Age Renaissance Republique of Poetry. The words and music, the beautiful haunted lament, the beautiful love song. Stranger Music by Leonard Cohen.

* A play by Samuel Beckett.

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Subterranean Blue Poetry

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