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Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs Paperback – Aug 13 1994

4.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart; 1 edition (Aug. 13 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771022328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771022326
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.9 x 22.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Cohen is probably best known as the writer of the lyrics for the song "Suzanne," made famous by Judy Collins, but has written a great many other songs, too, as well as poetry and prose poetry not set to music. In reading through this generous selection, one often hears the ghost of musical accompaniment, and sometimes its actual presence is missed. The writing alone, forthright in its rhythms, plain of speech, often rhymed, and almost immediately accessible, seems well suited to the ears of a live audience. So fans of the songs will be in luck, here; but readers who prefer slow subtleties, or a kind of poetry that gradually expands in meaning on rereading, or ambitious craft, won't find it in a piece like "For Anne," which begins "With Annie gone, / Whose eyes to compare / With the morning sun?" Cohen's writing is oral in flavor, and asks us to "read" it mainly by hearing it. This works to the disadvantage of a book, where words stay put and aren't sung.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

To appreciate these poems, we must suspend any notions of poetry as an intellectual art form and approach this work as one would a rack of greeting cards. Rhyme abounds, frankly showing Cohen at his best because it holds his didactic nature in check. Although there are few surprises, such as the wonderful early poem "Beneath My Hands," the songs from Cohen's first album, written over 30 years ago, are still his finest displays of outrageous yet stunning imagery. The presence of woman as lover, prostitute, or slave, celebrated in these early songs, continues into his latest work, making over 400 pages seem remarkably flimsy. That these women never seem to exist as individuals will possibly offend readers with a feminist bent. Yet despite almost pornographic descriptions, this Jewish poet still will not write outG-d's name. The Buddhist element in his 1984 poetry collection, Book of Mercy , is now scarcely evident. Despite its flaws, this book is recommended for popular collections.
- Rochelle Ratner, formerly Poetry Editor, "Soho Weekly News," New York
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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