Friday, November 02, 2012

‘There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.’ Leonard Cohen

 I’m Your Man
Author: Sylvie Simmons                        
RRP: $37.99
Released: 2 November 2012
Jonathan Cape 

The genius behind such classic songs as ‘Suzanne’, ‘Bird on a Wire’ and ‘Hallelujah’, Leonard Cohen has been one of the most important and influential songwriters of our time, a man of spirituality, emotion, and intelligence whose work has explored the definitive issues of human life – sex, religion, power, meaning, love. 

Yet before he even began recording, Cohen was an accomplished literary figure whose poetry and novels brought him considerable recognition.

His dual careers in music and literature have transformed one another, his songs revealing a literary quality rare in the world of popular music, and his poetry and prose informed by a rich musicality.

‘I’m Your Man’ explores the facets of Cohen’s life – from his early childhood in Montreal, to his entrée into the worlds of literature and music, his immersion in Jewish culture, obsession with Christian imagery, and deep commitment to Buddhist detachment – including the five years he spent at a monastery outside of Los Angeles and his ordainment as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist Monk.  

Sylvie Simmons draws on Cohen’s private archives and a wealth of interviews with many of his closest associates, colleagues, and other artists whose work he has inspired, as well as professors, Buddhist monks, and rabbis, to share stories and details never before revealed, and correct mistakes propounded in previous works.

Unlike other biographies, ‘I’m Your Man’ gives equal time to Cohen’s poetry and prose and balances his intellectual and religious sides. The result is this deeply insightful, well-rounded portrait, of an artist whose reach, vision, and incredible talent who has had a profound impact on multiple generations and who continues to create magic today.

I found it fascinating from beginning to end, but them I am huge huge fan. I remember reading and selling his poetry volumes in my Napier bookselling days. I think we own every CD of his, and his Auckland concert was the best live concert I have ever attended.

About the author:
Sylvie Simmons is one of the foremost music journalists chronicling rock ‘n roll since the 1970s. She has written for every major international music magazine, including Rolling Stone, MOJO, Q and Blender among other publications, and has interviewed everyone from Brian Wilson to Mick Jagger. 
A winner of the ‘ASCAP Deems Taylor Award’ for her liner notes to ‘Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970’, she is also the author of the biographies ‘Serge Gainsnourg: A Fistful of Cigarettes’ and ‘Neil Young: Reflections in Broken Glass’, as well as the short story collection ‘Too Weird for Ziggy’. She lives in San Francisco, California.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It really was the best concert, wasn't it? I walked around with a happy grin for months afterwards ...