SELECTED POEMS 1956-1968 by Leonard Cohen


Email this review


Young Canadian Mr. Cohen is not precisely a poet; he is that modern phenomenon, a Pop poet: a ""contemporary minnesinger"" whose songs are sung by folksingers and who has put out a psychedelic record of his songs, has published a couple of ""provocative novels,"" and been the subject of a Couple of TV shows. The younger set sings him, and Glamour advertises him as among the ""In"" people. Unlike many ""poets"" of this type, he has a genuine, if uneven, talent. The poems in this selection come reprinted from early books and include some newer pieces; their varied themes (love, modern life, religion) are poured forth in a variety of images, exhortations, intricate phrases, and poetic forms, often powerful and vividly poetic. But too much is unedited, uncontrolled. The slick media appeal qualities and jingle-rhythms appear in the wrong places, and mix badly with poems about gas-ovens, Hitler, Jewish culture, and other serious statements. But his appeal to the young is obvious.

Pub Date: June 26th, 1968
Publisher: Viking