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Death of a Lady's Man

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  306 ratings  ·  28 reviews

A collection of poetry and prose interspersed with lyrics, discursive passages, and diary extracts from the legendary Canadian songwriter-poet


First published in 1978, the theme of this insightful and moving poetry collection is love with all its dilemmas. It is largely autobiographical in tone, offering the reader insights into Cohen's private world. From the 1950s and

Hardcover, 216 pages
Published October 7th 1978 by McClelland & Stewart (first published 1978)
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3.99  · 
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 ·  306 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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MJ Nicholls
Nov 11, 2016 marked it as to-read
“I wish there was a treaty we could sign
It's over now, the water and the wine
We were broken then but now we're borderline
And I wish there was a treaty, I wish there was a treaty, between your love and mine.”

So long, Leonard.
Aug 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
Either it wasn't very good or I didn't get it. Probably a combination of both. Either way, I didn't like it much. It was okay. There was a bit too much sex for sex's sake. Just vulgar mentions of it for no apparent reason. But that's just my opinion.
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's no one else like him. This collection of poems, prose poems and lyrics is an odd book in his oeuvre, but his unique sensibility is alive on every page. I was happy to find a couple of his books that I had not read. I was in the middle of this when he died recently.
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
"Bring your heart back to its place. Here you are again, little priest. I touch you with a recollection of your grief. I give you the knowledge to distinguish between what is holy and what is common. This is your moment now."(p.15)

"I did not quarrel with my voices. I took it down out of the air. This is called work by those who know and should not be confused with an Eastern trance."(p.21)

"Puffed up with their power and secure in their deceit. They speak for us! They dare! They dare to speak for
Max Nemtsov
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
у этого человека прямая линия с господом богом - это становится предельно ясно по этой, едва ли не лучшей его книге, которая, говоря технически, не есть роман, но по сути - он. сложные отношения между я ("поэтом"), ею (не одной) и богом (а может, и нет). антифоном к текстам - голос "комментатора", который тоже я, и он добавляет лишнее измерение (не одно - и не лишнее) к собственно высказываниям. шедевр.
Jun 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Bought this at a festival before I became institutionalised.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lc
Probabilmente sapendo di essere prevedibile, ha fatto di tutto per non esserlo e per non annoiare sé stesso e gli altri. E' contraddittoriamente stufo di sé stesso. Talvolta annoia, più spesso la sua stessa noia mette a disagio. Non sono sicura che sapesse quel che stava facendo, però lo fa bene. Vale la pena di arrivare alla fine, una liberazione inaspettata!
Paula Dembeck
First, let me admit to one thing: I am a Cohen fan although I admire his prose/poetry set to music more than his written word.
This largely autobiographical volume was first written in 1978, published in 1979, but reissued in 2010. Like much of his work it has the recurring themes of love, sex, religion and depression. In these pieces we see Cohen in his many guises: pop star, failed artist, revolutionary, husband and seeker of religion. Its main thrust is the failed relationship with his wife an
Dane Cobain
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Death of a Lady's Man, which shouldn't be confused with Cohen's similarly-titled album 'Death of a Ladies Man', is an intriguing collection of the poet and musician's poetry and prose. But first, let's look at the naming - I was always wanted to read the book because I liked the album, even though I know that the two don't necessarily correlate. I find it interesting how the two phrases have such different meanings, but then I am a language geek. Make of it what you will.

Cohen's wit is as clear
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Published in 1978, this volume is a collection of poems and musings written from the late 60s through 1978. He includes poems, stream of consciousness writings, and additional poet notes or comments that add additional lines or context to the original piece. If you know Cohen, you know he only writes about two things: sex and religion or the combination of the combination of the too. That’s a very simplistic way to ignores the nuance that Cohen applies to his writings, but it is true. Other than ...more
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was my constant companion when I was a young woman in the 80s. I just love it. Sadly I lost it to the wear & tear of one of my many moves. Probably would cost a fortune now...
Stefania T.
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite
“Morte di un casanova” è una raccolta di poesie, brevi prose liriche e pagine di diario scritte intorno agli anni ’70: Leonard Cohen, che è voce, canta anche senza la sua voce.

E anche senza le sue canzoni, senza il Suono – lui che è Suono -, è Leonard Cohen: fedele a se stesso, sempre; e sempre ancora inesplorato. E’ uno scrittore. Anche senza musica, esiste.

“Morte di un casanova” è un gioco di specchi: in cui ogni composizione (di cui l’edizione minimum fax ci consegna anche l’originale in ling
James Schlichter
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As ever, not only is it how Cohen puts the words together or how the words he finds surprise, delight and engage, it is his struggles as artist, lover and family man that most appeal to me. Where he is brash, he is most fragile. Where tender, he is most brazen. This book is a battle between the worlds Cohen was always most divided between. In it, he wants to love honestly, legitimately as defined by a middle-class sensibility. But the artist in him reacts violently against anything which interfe ...more
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very strange book with poems and mocking commentary about those poems, rants, short stories, limericks, and a general tone of antagonism. Not 100% sure how to feel, some was hilarious, some gross, some beautiful. Overall a very interesting and different read.
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This collection of poems is so good and I wish I could give it five stars - but I can't. There's just something missing.

Second read:
One of Cohen's darkest books of poetry. The poems in here highlight a very real and tangible depression. Cohen's use of religion is particularly interesting. Judaism - as in many of his other books - is used to explore the inner workings of Cohen's mind. This strategy, for the first time, seems to fail him as his depression runs through all his allusions to the Bib
Jason Hillenburg
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Cohen never fails to engage me. This reads like a book written with his back against a wall, swimming in late nights and substance-fueled recrimination, and ultimately aimed towards catharsis. I'm sure if Cohen finds that catharsis - the collection seems to end more in exhaustion and resignation. Some of the prose poems and traditionally structured verse succumb to self-indulgence and cast off the discipline that marks so much of Cohen's work and, admittedly, the bile directed at himself and som ...more
Jul 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
La lettura di "Morte di un casanova" ha il suo valore maggiore nel permettere di capire chi è Leonard Cohen. Questi intricati ed ermetici scritti, ad un primo approccio spesso irritanti, messi tutti assieme compongono una precisa personalità, una figura definita dell'uomo Cohen e dei temi presenti nella sua opera di cantautore e di scrittore: amore fisico, amore mistico, qualche tratto di impegno politico, meditazione ma anche ironia. Dal punto di vista letterario la frammentazione e la vastità ...more
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I'm still not entirely sure what to make of this book. There are many powerful poems/prose poems, but a few bits of fluff. More complexly, there's a very meta quality to it--it presents itself as a sort of multi-layered set of completed works, drafts of those works, and commentaries on them, which sometimes yields very interesting results but at other times is just baffling. Cohen's characteristic intermingling of the sacred and profane, the celebratory and the depressive, is well and generally ...more
Jul 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
I found this book unpleasant, which is not to say it is unreadable. It was disjointed and rambling, which is not to say it is confusing. However, I certainly didn't keep it and have managed to forget it rapidly. I felt as if I was reading something slapped together on a promise of getting whatever published. Not the type of material I want to read. I prefer something that calls out to me. This book said, "I will be published no matter what I say." Didn't like that much.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with the previous reviewer that this book is very strong in places but uneven. However, I disagree with that person about the meta-narrative of the book. I think the "commentary" is what makes this book more than just a middling poetry collection with flashes of brilliance. Death of a Lady's Man is dense, complicated, and very rewarding.
Dylan Blanchard
Jan 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Solid read for the format if not the content.
I know this is going to be a collection that when I read later on down the road when I'm more well-read I'll appreciate it a lot more.
For now it was an eye-opener into his style of writing.
Jan 06, 2013 added it
The quality of his poetry is well below of his music. He's good at lamentations about lost love, regrets and a psychotic relation with religion.
Ross Cohen
Cohen's "Lady's Man" gathers, builds, rises, and falls in organic and thrilling ways. The commentaries, which ought to have been gimmicky, were a welcome counterpoint to the poetry.
Abeer Abdullah
Will not rate this because it's really complicated and i have mixed feelings.
May 20, 2008 rated it liked it
My love 9
May 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: canada
"darling, i'm afraid we have to go to the end of love"
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Leonard Norman Cohen was a Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963.

Cohen's earliest songs (many of which appeared on the 1968 album Songs of Leonard Cohen) were rooted in European folk music melodies and instrumentation, sung in a high baritone. The 1970s were a musically restless period in which his in
“what is the expression which the age demands? the age demands no expression whatever. we have seen photographs of bereaved asian mothers. we are not interested in the agony of your fumbled organs. there is nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror of this time. do not even try. you will only hold yourself up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply. we have seen newsreels of humans in the extremities of pain and dislocation.
you are playing to people who have experienced a catastrophe. this should make you very quiet. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. everyone knows you are in pain. you cannot tell the audience everything you know about love in every line of love you speak. step aside and they will know what you know because you know it already. you have nothing to teach them. you are not more beautiful than they are. you are not wiser.
do not shout at them. do not force a dry entry. that is bad sex. if you show the lines of your genitals, then deliver what you promise. and remember that people do not really want an acrobat in bed. what is our need? to be close to the natural man, to be close to the natural woman. do not pretend that you are a beloved singer with a vast loyal audience which has followed the ups and downs of your life to this very moment. the bombs, flame-throwers, and all the shit have destroyed more than just the trees and villages. they have also destroyed the stage. did you think that your profession would escape the general destruction? there is no more stage. there are no more footlights. you are among the people. then be modest. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. be by yourself. be in your own room. do not put yourself on.
do not act out words. never act out words. never try to leave the floor when you talk about flying. never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side when you talk about death. do not fix your burning eyes on me when you speak about love. if you want to impress me when you speak about love put your hand in your pocket or under your dress and play with yourself. if ambition and the hunger for applause have driven you to speak about love you should learn how to do it without disgracing yourself or the material.
this is an interior landscape. it is inside. it is private. respect the privacy of the material. these pieces were written in silence. the courage of the play is to speak them. the discipline of the play is not to violate them. let the audience feel your love of privacy even though there is no privacy. be good whores. the poem is not a slogan. it cannot advertise you. it cannot promote your reputation for sensitivity. you are students of discipline. do not act out the words. the words die when you act them out, they wither, and we are left with nothing but your ambition.
the poem is nothing but information. it is the constitution of the inner country. if you declaim it and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better than the politicians whom you despise. you are just someone waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a kind of emotional patriotism. think of the words as science, not as art. they are a report. you are speaking before a meeting of the explorers' club of the national geographic society. these people know all the risks of mountain climbing. they honour you by taking this for granted. if you rub their faces in it that is an insult to their hospitality. do not work the audience for gasps ans sighs. if you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. it will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice or the cutting of the air with your hands. it will be in the data and the quiet organization of your presence.
avoid the flourish. do not be afraid to be weak. do not be ashamed to be tired. you look good when you're tired. you look like you could go on forever. now come into my arms. you are the image of my beauty.”
“So the great affair is over but whoever would have guessed
it would leave us all so vacant and so deeply unimpressed
It's like our visit to the moon or to that other star
I guess you go for nothing if you really want to go that far.

It's like our visit to the moon or to that other star
I guess you go for nothing if you really want to go that far.”
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