Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs celebrates the astonishing career of Leonard Cohen, revered around the world as one of the great visionaries, writers, performers, and most consistently daring songwriters.
Cohen’s career began in 1956 with the publication of Let Us Compare Mythologies, and he has since published eight books of poems – including The Spice-Box of Earth, Death of a Lady’s Man, and Book of Mercy – and has made numerous albums, becoming one of the most popular and influential artists in Canada, the United States, and Europe.
His first record, The Songs of Leonard Cohen, released in 1967, was a remarkable musical début and introduced some of his most famous songs, including “Suzanne,” “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,” and “Sisters of Mercy.” From then, and with each subsequent album, he earned the status as one of the most dazzlingly literate songwriters of our time.
Stranger Music brings together for the first time a comprehensive selection of Leonard Cohen’s song lyrics and his poetry, including some poems not previously published. This landmark edition demonstrates the range and depth of Cohen’s work, revealing an extraordinary gift of language that speaks with rare clarity, passion, and timelessness.
Leonard Cohen was born in Montreal in 1934. He received his B.A. from McGill University and pursued graduate studies in English at Columbia University. Soon thereafter, he returned to Montreal and worked in his family’s clothing business while he continued to write poetry.
His artistic career began in 1956 with the publication of Let Us Compare Mythologies. He has published nine collections of poetry, most recently, Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs (1993), and two novels, The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966). During the sixties he achieved national and international acclaim as a composer-singer. He has made seventeen albums, the latest being Dear Heather (2004). Numerous tribute albums, in many languages, have celebrated his songs.
Cohen was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1991, and promoted to the rank of Companion in 2003. He received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award in 1993, and has won numerous Juno Awards.
“Stranger Music brings together, at last, the words of a Canadian artist who has been anything but a stranger to so many of us for so long.…Cohen has woven a chain of words that binds us together.”
“Stranger Music is a massive record of the poet’s imaginative journey through beauty, through horror, through the extremes of love and despair.…Cohen is always a poet of extremes: that’s where he lives, at the edges of them.”
“Stranger Music is a record of Cohen’s dispatches from the front, an invaluable record of a shining voice. It burns still.”