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Stranger Music Selected Poems and Songs [Paperback]

Leonard Cohen
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Cohen Revisited Nov. 10 2001
Leonard Cohen is one of the best rock poets going. He has received less aclaim than some of the other rock poets like Jim Morrison, Lou Reed and Bob Dylan. That is really a shame because Cohen has produced a pretty extraordinary body of work.
He published his first volume of poetry in 1956. His first album of music came out in 1967. Stranger Music is a selection of poems and lyrics from his entire career. It provides 400 pages of material. One will quickly realize that Cohen has had an amazing career. I especially like the lyrics. "The Future" is a CD that seems to find its way into my player a lot. Even though, the lyrics are on the CD sleeve, it is nice to see them in a book. One will gain an appreciation for how poetic Cohen's lyrics are. (The same is true for Dylan. There is something special about great poetic lyrics getting placed in book form.)
This book also contains generous samplings of his early books like "Beautiful Losers" and "Flowers For Hitler". Cohen manages to straddle the line between emotional intensity and sheer intellectualism. This collection will allow one to examine a great, often time underlooked career. It is some of the best English language poetry of the 20th Century.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, tugs at your soul Aug. 4 2001
Leonard Cohen is... I cannot find a single word to describe him. He is enigmatic. He is eclectic. He is iconoclastic. He is all of these things, and many, many more. Read this book and you will understand. This book includes a wide variety of his poems throughout the years, including selections from all 8 of his original volumes of poetry (The Energy of Slaves and Death of A Lady's Man are particularly well represented), as well as poems from his first anthology, selections from his novel Beautiful Losers, and 11 previously unpublished poems. Also included are lyrics to songs from all of his wonderful albums, many of them nicely represented, including The Future, his most recent album, which has all of it's Cohen-penned lyrics included here. These are particularly convenient as Cohen's albums, sadly, have been virtually ignored by record companies and during their re-packaging onto CD most of them do not include lyrics. This is a monumental collection, over 400 pages and including several hundred poems, some of which are not available elsewhere, and almost all of which are very hard to find at any rate. This is an absolute must for a Leonard Cohen fan. He is perhaps my favorite poet, his words tug at your heartstrings like so many other poets are claimed to be able to do, but which few can. His writing has always been honest, he's not fooling anybody, and these poems and lyrics touch you deep in your soul. Cohen strikes a chord. This is masterly, masterly writing. If you are a fan of Leonard Cohen's music, then you owe it to yourself to further your experience by buying this book. I cannot give it a higher reccommendation.
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Even if you aren't familiar with Cohen as a musician, you've probably heard his music -- "Suzanne" (who "takes you down by her place near the river"), "Bird on a Wire," "Famous Blue Raincoat," "Joan of Ark." Rufus Wainright sang a haunting version of "Hallelujah" on the soundtrack of Schreck. John Cale did an earlier cover of "Hallelujah." I listened to Hallelujah over & over again, hitting the move back button on my CD player time after time. Later, I discovered that Hallelujah was penned by Leonard Cohen. Interesting -- I'd never heard of Leonard Cohen. Out of curiosity, I bought a couple of his CDs. I can't stop listening to them.
I bought this book because I wanted to see the lyrics written out (obviously, this is not an endorsement for the rather lame liner notes on the CDS I bought, which do not include lyrics). This treasure trove contains so much more here than the lyrics to the familiar songs. This isn't a feel-good collection; rather, it's a feel-alive collection, piercing and painful and brutal in its honesty. Cohen's poetry is perfect for when you want to crawl into yourself & wallow in introspection. This book contains 401 pages of poetry -- deeply spiritual, often sexual, sometimes funny, usually haunting. Most of the poems dig at your inner core, causing you to think. I am so amazed at the breadth of this man's talent, at his insight and intelligence and honesty. The poems are real rather than pretty, troubled rather than calm.
If you like Bob Dylan/Joan Baez type of music, you'll like Cohen's poetry. If you've read (and enjoyed) the poetry but haven't yet heard the music, do yourself a big favor and check out one of his CDs.
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By A Customer
Leonard Cohen's early books of poetry are difficult to find even second-hand, and "Stranger Music" fills the gaps ranging from his first book of poetry "Let Us Compare Mythologies" (1956), all the way to his haunting CD "The Future." Readers will discover powerful poems as well as selected lyrics from all his albums. For those who enjoy Mr. Cohen's music, and have a love for literature, "Stranger Music" is a treasure. And with his early books of poetry difficult to find, "Stranger Music" gives you a taste of 37 years worth of material. An exceptional book!
Trey Smith
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Stranger yet
As a man once said, "James Joyce is not dead. He's living in Montreal under the name of Leonard Cohen."
Stranger Music is an amazing book. Read more
Published on May 3 2002 by John Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful poetry
I usually hate "mushy" stuff. "Sense and Sensibility" makes me nauseous, poetic descriptions of nature bore me to tears. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2002 by Enoki
5.0 out of 5 stars Leonard Cohen is the best!!!
I read this book and it convinced me that Cohen is the best poet in North America. And as a Canadian, I'm proud he's my countryman. Read more
Published on July 17 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars in love with words
leonard cohen is one of canada's most lyric authors. his words are like honey for a sore throat. anyone who is willing to spend a little time with cohen is willing to learn about... Read more
Published on Dec 4 2000 by gen m.
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative and Necessary
Anyone in love with words will fall in love with this collection. Leonard Cohen has the ability to include the emotions of an entire relationship in an 8 line poem without being... Read more
Published on Oct. 5 2000 by Rachael Jarvis
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillant
This book is an amazing compliation of a brillant man. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in poetry. Cohen's poetry exhibits the pain and joy found in love. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2000 by Jared McBride
5.0 out of 5 stars greatest poetry anthology ever!!
leonard cohen has always been the master of emotional poetry. he writes with his heart on his sleeve. not many people are brave enough to do that. an excellent read.
Published on April 5 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars The book that influenced my mind
Wow. I love Leonard Cohen's writing's, music, books, everything. Reading one poem after another just keeps you going in life. Read more
Published on Sept. 1 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Pissing against the wind
If anything else Lenny Cohen can teach us, then it's to be careful when looking at this world and at us. Poetry is magic, but Cohen is not a magician. Read more
Published on Aug. 22 1998 by e.wenzel@mailbox.gu.edu.au
5.0 out of 5 stars Cohen is a clever man. Brutally truthful, but clever.
I had never heard of Leonard Cohen before reading this book. By the time I was finished reading, I swear my whole view of life had changed. Read more
Published on Dec 7 1997
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