Dance Me to the End Of Love

“The figures of Leonard Cohen’s poems rise like figures in Chagall, transformed from the ordinary, surprised into a world of visionary experience. Out of the junk of the everyday—”the garbage and the flowers”—the magical world of the imaginative is created. There is a strong sense that his poetry is a prodigious search of experience for the exit from the ordinary, but it is not always violently so. Some of the earlier works—”Go by Brooks,” for instance—have a simple lyricism that is also intense. Occasionally, it slopes off into a characteristic wry humor; more often its apparent Emily Dickinson-like simplicities conceal a toughness and a danger for which only the ballad form is adequate. And it is in the ballad that Cohen’s greatest strength lies. The concentration of the imagery and the force of the rhyme give a telling intensity to the surrealist experiences of his imagination—an intensity that becomes at times almost gnomic:

History is a needle

for putting men asleep

anointed with the poison

of all they want to keep.”

Read more about him on Literature Resource Center


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