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The Flame

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,303 ratings  ·  330 reviews
The Flame is the final work from Leonard Cohen, the revered poet and musician whose fans span generations and whose work is celebrated throughout the world. Featuring poems, excerpts from his private notebooks, lyrics, and hand-drawn self-portraits, The Flame offers an unprecedentedly intimate look inside the life and mind of a singular artist.

A reckoning with a life live
Hardcover, 277 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Erik I'd encourage you to reach out to the publisher about this.…moreI'd encourage you to reach out to the publisher about this.

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fulfilling book riot's 2018 read harder challenge task #1: A book published posthumously


I pray for courage
Now I'm old
To greet the sickness
And the cold

I pray for courage
In the night
To bear the burden
Make it light

I pray for courage
In the time
When suffering comes and
Starts to climb

I pray for courage
At the end
To see death coming
As a friend

i mean, it’s leonard cohen, and it’s the last leonard cohen book we’re ever going to get, so even though i didn’t breathlessly love every single
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
A true talent never dies.
Farewell 'My Secret Life', 'The Partisan', 'Nevermind'...

Christmas has come early this year for me. A postmortem edition of one of the most revered contemporary magicians of the word!

Choosing between reading and not reading this one is no choice at all! A must read and a must reread god knows how many times.

On rare occasions
The power was given me
To send waves of emotion
through the world. (c)
Let's say that on that lucky night
I found my house in order
and I could slip
May 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t want to greet
the morning light
with a night like this
in my heart soul
Have mercy on those shadows
that fall in love with shadows

The Observer wasn’t kidding when it called Leonard Cohen ‘the last word in love and despair’. This final collection from Cohen has an introduction written by his son Adam, who mentions that “In the last months of his life, despite severe physical limitations, Leonard Cohen made selections for what would be his final volume of poems.”

There are three sections: The f
Dave Schaafsma
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music, poetry
“. . . evidence of a burning soul. . .” Adam Cohen, about The Flame, the last writings of his father, Leonard Cohen

I have had Leonard Cohen’s last (? Maybe they will dig up more?) collection of poetry/lyrics/notebook thoughts by my bedside for many weeks now. It’s a beautiful book produced by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, including sketches Cohen made of himself and many women he has known. Most of the poems are about love, written late, evidence of a great life (and love life) ended without regre
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You came to me
You wear your widow clothes
I ask who are you mourning for
you say, The man you were before
The man you were before
I loved you

I remember him

Didn't he live
on an island in
the Mediterranean sea
with a mandate from God
to enter the dark

"... we're busted in the blinding lights of Closing Time."
Alex O'Brien
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, music, poetry, canlit
As a big Leonard Cohen fan, I loved this collection of poems, lyrics, notes, and drawings. When you love an artist and their work this much, it can be hard to be objective-you end up treasuring every little glimpse into the author's life and work, especially after they have passed.

The Flame is a generous collection filled with many poems, the lyrics to his last four albums, and extensive notes from his journals including many revealing passages from throughout his long career. His poem about Kan
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
The memorable last collection of poetry from Leonard Cohen, who began life as a poet and continued to his last breath. The book is divided into enigmatic sections only he would understand: 'Poems' including subsections titled 'Old Ideas', 'Popular Problems', 'You Want it Darker'--the names of his final three albums-- and 'Leonard and Peter,' a poet's exchange of a verse argument in texts; 'Lyrics' and 'Selections from the Notebooks'... which are also poems. Dozens of self-portraits and drawings ...more
Barbara H
Oct 12, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction, music, art, poetry
A few days ago, I heard an interview on NPR with Adam Cohen, Leonard Cohen's son. It was a tender, loving picture of his father, filled with admiration. Although I am not usually attracted to poetry, Cohen's music and poetry have always held an appeal for me. I look forward to reading this book. ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: goodreads-win
In the last days of his life, Leonard Cohen prepared his last book, gathering drawings, unpublished material, and the lyrics from his last albums. He was a man who knew he was in his last days and an artist who needed to send out one last envoy to the world. That book has been published as The Flame.

The image on the cover is the burning bush, a green tree surrounded by fire and yet is not burned by the flames. Cohen's "flame burned bright within him to the very end," said Robert Kory, manager an
Veronika Sebechlebská
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I caught the darkness
Drinking from your cup
I said: Is this contagious?
You said: Just drink it up

Brandon Montgomery
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In June 2016, a new poem by Leonard Cohen was quietly published in The New Yorker. In fact, the poem was almost buried - I'd read the article and had the copy for about a month, I only found it because I was flipping through old(ish) magazines out of boredom. It was a gem, and a small joy to discover. It was titled Steer Your Way and it's reprinted here.

"Steer your way through the ruins of the Altar and the Mall
steer your way through the fables of Creation and the Fall
steer your way past t
Kent Winward
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Poems, lyrics, emails, drawings, and notebook entries from the incomparable Leonard Cohen. I read the book and was hit by the joint feeling of meeting with an old friend and a strong sense of loss -- or maybe it felt more like this:

I caught the darkness, it was drinking from your cup
I caught the darkness, drinking from your cup
I said is this contagious?
You said just drink it up.
Kasa Cotugno
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, genre-poetry
This book of poems and sketches was the last thing Leonard Cohen was working on prior to his death in 2016. His prolific output continued throughout his life, and he was forever sketching and jotting ideas down. It is really uncertain whether or not he had a book in mind -- some of the poems are dated much earlier, but they carry his trademark rhythms and I enjoyed envisioning him reading them with his world weary but warm and distinctive style. Several even made me laugh out loud (particularly ...more
Robert Yokoyama
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Flame is an appropriate title for this book because it describes Leonard's passion for writing and art. There are lyrics to some of his songs that I enjoy. There is a song entitled "Half The Perfect World". It is a beautiful love song that I've enjoyed for years, but I never paid attention to the words until I read them in this book. I also love the song entitled "Nightingale". This is a kind of song that makes me appreciate the physical beauty of nature. I also enjoy looking at his self por ...more
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you're a Leonard Cohen fan (is there anyone here who isn't?), then this is an essential read. Of course, if you are, I'm sure you already have or on your way to so doing.

This is a collection of poems, lyrics and notebooks. It is illustrated with little pen and ink drawing Cohen did, mostly of himself, that are moving in their own way.

The lyrics are unfinished and so not complete in the way his published work is but there are all his themes present: love, self-loathing, hope, faith, his Jewis
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
I have dipped in and out of two collections of Leonard Cohen’s poems and songs over the last year or so, one from his youth and this one from his age. I have really struggled to start reviewing them. I wondered how to treat them separately when I really wanted to think about them together. So the earlier collection, entitled simply “Leonard Cohen” has influenced my comments on this book.
The first section of “The Flame” contains poems previously unpublished, some honed over decades, and Section 2
Alice (Married To Books)
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
I'm rating this book four stars for the first half of poetry alone. A lot of people close to me are not a fan of Cohen's music and tried to talk me out of reading The Flame altogether. Well, I didn't listen to them. The poem I loved the most was a simple one called Banjo, talking about seeing that musical instrument floating out at sea and having the urge to grab it. Towards the end, I did start to feel a little disconnected from the writing style. The illustrations throughout added a visual tou ...more
Nooshin Sh

I am the light of
my generation
and the radio
and the refrigerator

I loved the Prince of Asturias Award speech, the drawings, and some of the narrations (Michael Shannon is phenomenal); but I would be lying if I said this book was an addition of much importance to the published works of Leonard Cohen, as the proportion of genuinely unseen material it contained would hardly amass to 40% of the book.

Mar 21, 2020 added it
In the prison of the gifted
I was friendly with the guard
So I never had to witness
What happens to the heart
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
The Ex introduced me to Leonard Cohen a bit over 20 years ago when she let me read her copy of Beautiful Losers. I enjoyed that novel but wasn’t so moved by it that I actively sought out more of his work, either his writings or his songs (though I too liked what snatches I heard of the latter). As happens, though, serendipity puts things in my hands like the current volume, which I discovered on the New shelf at my library.

After reading The Flame, I’m still in the “I like his stuff but not enoug
Lolly K Dandeneau
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
via my blog:
“So I’ve come here to revisit

What happens to the heart”

The Flame is Leonard Cohen’s final work, a collection of poems, musings from his personal notebook, self-potraits intimately drawn by his own hand and more. It’s a walk through Cohen’s mind and heart, writing until his final breath, because those who make magic out of their words rely on them to make sense of this human experience. Cohen’s revelations were always in his poems, lyrics more th
Una Tiers
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It was two years before his death that I was introduced to the music of Leonard Cohen at St. James Cathedral in Chicago, IL. Hallelujah reverberated for me. A kind soul taped it on You tube and I tracked the artist. Until I saw this book, I didn't know about his poetry.
It was powerful and I recommend you hear it on audio, there are several readers, guaranteed to please.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a slight urge to give this a fourth star out of sentimentality, but it's best to refrain. Though there is a fair amount of material from his final decade following 'Book of Longing' (2006), one wonders if his last great poetic works were in fact collected there, and what's left was to serve as the bulk of this final assemblage which seems to reflect the most simplistic decades in his discography (post-The Future, 1992 and pre-Old Ideas, 2012). There is little to engage with on any deep l ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it liked it
First I want to thank Goodreads and Farrar, Straus & Giroux for the opportunity to read a galley version of the book. As such this review is based on the galley and may change once the final book is released.

The book is broken into four sections and so is my review.

The Poems.
I have loved Mr. Cohen's voice for many years and in this his last collection it remains strong. Do not expect any ground breaking discovery, but instead a voice that is strong and confident. 4.5

The Lyrics.
Included in the b
J.M.K. Walkow
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
(I received this book for free through this site's giveaway program)

Very briefly, here are some pros and cons with this book.

-Leonard Cohen! If you like him at all, you might as well pick this up. I dunno how much insight it gives into his life or anything like that - there are far more "poems" than "notebooks" - but, y'know, Leonard Cohen.

-As a writer myself, it's very helpful to see another writer's process laid out in print. This is a tremendous rarity, especially for someone as skilled
Cátia Vieira
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After taking my time with The Flame by Leonard Cohen, I am officially finished and inevitably left with a sense of disquiet, of inquietude. I can’t even begin to describe how Cohen - as a musician and a writer - moves me. His inimitable voice and his world of suffering and sensuality feel like a temple to me.

The Flame, published in 2018, is the final work from Leonard Cohen. This book features poems, excerpts from his private notebooks, lyrics and hand-drawn self-portraits, presenting itself lik
Res ipsa loquitur - the thing speaks for itself

The Flame by Leonard Cohen review – the last word in love and despair.
The songwriter and poet’s final writings are full of youthful spark, beauty and romance
Richard Newton
May 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I wanted to like this more as I am a huge fan of Cohen's music, and seeing him live was one of the musical highlights of my life. But poetry is such a personal thing - even more than literature, where tastes vary significantly - poetry that one person loves is not like by another. This book has a few gems, but overall I could not really get into the poems. They did not move me in the way his music does - although some have the natural rhythm of music. But as I say, poetry is personal and this ma ...more
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cohen has such a way with words, whether talking about everyday occurrences or more reflective situations. He also seems to have a knack for stringing phrases together in a way that is simultaneously unexpected yet oddly familiar. I also absolutely loved the Biblical and religious symbolism in so many of his poems.

I will say I much preferred the strictly poetry sections. I had no idea who Leonard Cohen was when I picked this book up, so I was caught by surprise when I reached the song lyric sect
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There Might Be Cu...: Episode 56: Happy Socks and The Flame 1 1 Dec 15, 2019 05:49AM  

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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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“Fare thee well my nightingale
I lived but to be near you
Though you are singing somewhere still
I can no longer hear you”
“I tried to cry, there were no tears
I tried to laugh, there was no scorn
I tried to run, there was no road
I tried to die, I was not born”
More quotes…