Montreal Poetry After Leonard Cohen

But this success was undercut by an inconvenient truth: he couldn’t make ends meet. He wasn’t a spendthrift—literary art in Canada simply didn’t pay. According to Nadel, the decisive shift toward his future singing career came at a party at Frank Scott’s house, when Cohen introduced the music of Bob Dylan to the Montreal poets. Listening to Subterranean Homesick Blues, the writers didn’t know what to think. Al Purdy, classy as ever, called it an awful bore and stomped out of the room. But ‘Cohen listened intently, solemnly announcing that he would become the Canadian Dylan, a statement all dismissed.’ By that fall, Cohen had moved into the Chelsea Hotel in New York and was doing the hard work of reinventing himself as a commercially successful singer-songwriter. The Golden Boy would surprise them all.”

Derek Webster – Canadian Notes & Queries – April 2018


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