There are few writers thought to be as insightful as Leonard Cohen. Many elevate the lyricist and put him in the stratosphere with people like Bob Dylan and even… Shakespeare.
To be sure, Cohen is an expert songwriter. But one of the reasons why is that he takes his time. He does not rush things. For Cohen, whose family announced recently that his unpublished fiction writing will be collected for a new posthumous book, A Ballet of Lepers, writing was sacred, spiritual.
It’s for these reasons we wanted to dive into Cohen’s thoughts about things that lie outside singing and writing songs. Even though Cohen, who is known for all-time tracks like “Hallelujah,” “Tower Of Song” and “Dance Me to the End of Love” is understood as a master of song composition, let’s dive into what the artist had to say about the rest of life, too.
So, without further ado, let’s investigate the Top 18 Leonard Cohen Quotes.
1. “Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”
2. “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
3. “Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.”
4. “I don’t consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin.”
5. “This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled. But there are moments when we can… reconcile and embrace the whole mess, and that’s what I mean by ‘Hallelujah.'”
6. “If I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often.”
7. “When things get really bad, just raise your glass and stamp your feet and do a little jig. That’s about all you can do.”
8. “The older I get, the surer I am that I’m not running the show.”
9. “Success is survival.”
10. “Music is the emotional life of most people.”
11. “The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.”
12. “Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.”
13. “I’ve got beautiful reviews for all my books, and I’m very well thought of in the tiny circles that know me, but I’m really starving.”
14. “As we make our way toward the finish line that some of us have already crossed, I never thought I’d get a Grammy Award. In fact, I was always touched by the modesty of their interest.”
15. “I was 15 when I first became deeply touched by the rhythm and structure of words.”
16. “All of my writing has guitars behind it, even the novels.”
17. “I didn’t want to write for pay. I wanted to be paid for what I write.”
18. “Some people care about their work lasting forever—I have little interest in it.”
Photo by Matt Kent/Redferns