“Leonard Cohen has been a companion throughout my life. His words and songs arriving as I needed, each time explaining to my heart the things my mind found difficult.” Debbie Jones, from Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen
Sometimes a writer emerges as a timeless troubadour — a balladeer of the heart whose words touch countless lives, like the sun or the rain falling. Leonard Cohen is one of those beloved wordsmiths. A Renaissance man, he was a singer, songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. No realm of life was off limits and he gave anyone who cared to see glimpses of his soul in all its light and dark meanderings. What a gift!
It seems totally fitting then, that other writers should celebrate the life-changing, life-affirming ways in which Leonard’s words touched them. That’s why I was excited when my friend Ron Bremner, a poet and poetry lover, told me about Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen, a collection of reflections to Leonard in poetry and prose.
I love it when writers share their stories about other writers who influenced them. It reminds me that no matter what the world knows of us, we are all part of a community: a tribe of scribes who can learn from each other and grow together. Knowing how a gifted, soulful writer has struggled with loss and love just as we do and turned their experience into art is so inspiring!
A few lines from “Last Year’s Man — and This One’s” — my friend Ron Bremner’s Anthem poem:
How many times I stood before the mirror,
desperate, like the Santa Claus in Dress Rehearsal
Rag, putting on dark glasses, with a razor in my mitt?
And how many times did the Sisters of Mercy lead
me back from the bathroom to that beguiling music?
What more moving celebration of a writer’s life is there than a gathering of the words he’s inspired in other writers? If you or someone you know loves Leonard, then you may want to get a copy of Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen. A perfect gift. Write on!