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Fifteen Poems

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  361 ratings  ·  23 reviews
This selection of poems by Leonard Cohen, one of the most acclaimed singer-songwriters in the world, is accompanied by twenty-four of his striking and provocative drawings.

Cohen first made his name as a poet more than half a century ago and since then his achievements in poetry and music have made him an internationally revered figure. These fifteen poems, including “Death
ebook, 54 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf
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Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Let men numb names
scratch winds that blow
listen to the stories
but what you know you know

And knowing is enough
for mountains such as these
where nothing long remains
houses walls or trees

In the recent episode of This is Us, Nicky and Jack during their younger days bonded over Leonard Cohen's songs.
"Cohen is not a songwriter, he is a poet.
His songs-- poems."

This is my first book of Leonard Cohen. Haven't listened to much of his songs. Only have heard of his love story from the letter he wrote --
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are only familiar with Leonard Cohen through his songs, (or if you are not familiar with him at all - in which case you should go use YouTube) this Kindle Single is an easy introduction to his poetry. Fifteen Poems collects some of his most accessible poetry from his various books. The recontextualization from putting poems written in different decades together gives the meanings a slight variation - i guess. I mean, it surprisingly works as a collection. Also, the single has drawings by ...more
Nov 21, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian, ebooks, poetry

Fifteen Poems tracks Leonard Cohen's work throughout his career, from Let Us Compare Mythologies in 1956 to Stranger Music, published 1993. His earlier work is represented far more widely than his later, but the poem choices are good; they show the growth of his writing while also being enjoyable poems in their own right. However, this is not a "best of" collection. Despite the subjective nature of poetry I can guarantee few would call this Cohen's finest. My personal favorite in the collection

Mike Futcher
May 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A short and sweet collection of Leonard Cohen's poetry. The poems selected were good choices, though they are not among his absolute best. (Note: these are not new poems, but are taken from his previous collections, going right back to 1956's Let Us Compare Mythologies). Nevertheless, they do reflect the man's style of poetry well and consequently, if you are new to Cohen and unsure whether you will like his poetry, this is an ideal taster. It is very short, it is available for pennies on Amazon ...more
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
A powerful anthology containing some of Cohen's greatest poems. I love the choices made in this collection as they highlight the earlier works, which show that even at this later stage in Cohen's life, Cohen was reflecting on his past works and their meaning.

Great stuff. A simple and swift introduction to Cohen's poetry.
Alexánder Obando
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Evertthing was true.

Everything that has been said about him is true. At times a minor poet. At times a master. "You Have the Lovers" is probably his best work in this collection. That is when he reaches unparalleled heights.
Abiesha Abiola Smith

While a number of these poems were enjoyable and relatable, I will still dwell deeply and preferably in Leonard Cohen’s musical melodies.


“When you call me close to tell me your body is not beautiful I want to summon the eyes and hidden mouths of stone and light and water to testify against you.”
T.S. S. Fulk
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was ok
Not my cup of tea.
Jun 18, 2021 added it
Have always preferred the more romantically anguished Leonard stuff to the biblical stuff and thankfully there's a good balance here ...more
John Eliot
Oct 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Let's make it clear, if I could only take on CD/LP to a desert island it would be by Leonard Cohen. And then I would have diffficutly choosing which. I have seen him on all his tours since 1974.
I don't rate him as a poet on paper though and I think there are better collections than this 'greatest hits' of poems. There are a couple which are excellent. The illustrations for the most part are very good. But if you are to buy a collection of his verse, then maybe something like Energy of Slaves.
Nov 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, poetry, music
Cheap and cheerful ebook of a few of Cohen's poems (not songs). As such, it encourages a quick and shallow reading. I wasn't grabbed by much in here, but one included here may grab me properly when I go through Stranger Things, the selected works I picked up. (I think also, I've been reading a lot of complex poetry recently, so Cohen's style seems a bit limp by comparison. I hope to get back to it soon, hopefully with a clearer head.) ...more
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Slightly disappointed that this was a selection of previously published poems rather than new ones (my mistake!), but enjoyed the arrangement and particularly the addition of illustrations, one of which included a poem that I preferred over all the ones included in the text itself—'The lie in what's holy, the light in what's not'... ...more
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Leonard Cohen poetry

Cohen was a poet before he was a singer. He wrote beautiful and memorable songs but it was always his words that grabbed me. This little anthology is a sweet introduction to Cohen the poet and artist.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Way more personal pronouns than actual personality here. Except in the drawings, which I enjoyed, especially the one with guitars buried in snow in front of a row of townhouses. Some of the poems nail their images, too: 'The windy sky's a locket for your hair...' ...more
Simon Sweetman
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this small selection of poems; had read them before across the anthologies and original volumes but a nice grouping of a small selection - designed for Kindle - and paired up with some previously unseen drawings.
Rachel Phillips
I just don't get poetry. ...more
Terri R
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
I like some of his songs and the artwork but not these poems - too dark for me.
Kent Winward
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a nice introduction to a broad time section of Cohen's poetry. Whoever was in charge of the selection did an excellent job.

Not to mention you get some of his drawings.
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Sadly, love of someone's music does not translate into love of someone's poetry. I could read his lyrics for days. ...more
Jan 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the illustrations included in this ebook, however some of the poetry rendered me slightly uncomfortable.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite poets and singers. His words pierce and I'm always left wanting more. ...more
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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

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“When I Uncovered Your Body”

I thought shadows fell deceptively,
urging memories of perfect rhyme.
I thought I could bestow beauty
like a benediction and that your half-dark flesh
would answer to the prayer.
I thought I understood your face
because I had seen it painted twice
or a hundred times, or kissed it
when it was carved in stone.
With only a breath, a vague turning,
you uncovered shadows
more deftly than I had flesh,
and the real and violent proportions of your body
made obsolete old treaties of excellence,
measures and poems,
and clamoured with a single challenge of personal beauty,
which cannot be interpreted or praised:
it must be met.”
More quotes…