Golden Voice

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rock and poetry

Well Norbert, what puzzles me about all this is why you gave up an interest in ‘pop’ in the first place, especially given your concerns about poetry and society. Perhaps your use of the all-embracing junk label of ‘pop’ is to blame. There has been some seriously good music out there over the last decades under many more specific labels (rock, folk, blues, punk, and so on), and the best of it (of which there is, in my view, a lot) often acts as the carrier for contemporary poetry. Leonard Cohen is obviously a poet, and stages himself as such just as Dylan did. But lyric writing is the poetry of our age, and most certainly of the young each in their own generation. As such, it is fabulously successful, and for the steelier sort of mind, sociologically interesting. Why did you stop listening? You must have figured out that ‘expecting to learn something about your future’ was an unrealistic demand, arguably for any sort of poetry. That doesn’t stop you from learning a lot about your times and yourself.

Barry Buzan more than 14 years ago


Hi Claudia, I looked but it was quite dark. I wish I had heard you singing out there in the great GM beyond. Yes, I noticed when Leonard did the poem but he didn’t read it, he spoke it. Or recited. This is something other than ‘reading a poem.’ The marvel of it did touch me for a moment, but then it sounded also like those moments in country and western songs when—Johnny Cash, for instance—starts speaking rather than singing his lines. When the serious loss of the beloved is celebrated via deep voiced echoy prayer. No, Leonard didn’t go all the way West, but he hung around on the edges of a great plain. I can’t remember which poem/prayer it was, and whether or not I knew it…Now I will go to your blog.

Norbert more than 14 years ago

young stuff and old stuff

Hey Norbert, you just didn’t look hard enough. I was singing too. Plus I brought my young stuff with me - Henry and George - Henry, 17, grooved, and George, 13, was incredibly bored. I also brought my old stuff, my dad, 79, who was too hungover to sing, but has been playing 10 songs non-stop for the last 2 months on his ipod for company in the existential ocean he finds himself in. Wasn’t it cool when Cohen read a poem to a packed GM Place? Has that EVER happened before?Congratulations on the launch, and I can retaliate with my own blog, I Claudia, at

Claudia more than 14 years ago

Leonard in Concert

A great start to your blog, not least because you captured perfectly the sense I had in watching the video from London of his earlier concert on the current tour. What we know are the lyrics and the melodies; what is startling is the incredible musicianship — this guy is a performer and not only a poet.

Jim Mitchell more than 14 years ago



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