Harvey Kubernik's new book on the poetic songwriter Leonard Cohen combines insight and intellect and is written in the author's own indisputably glorious literary voice in trying to give shape to the mysterious artist. Kubernik is a poet in his own right and there is no one better suited to write this biography than the former rock journalist. Here in an excerpt from his introduction, the author explains why he was fated to write this book.
Leonard encouraged me to stay in the music journalism and poetry game. One memorable night in the mid-Seventies we went to see Allen Ginsberg read at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. I stayed the course...
Kubernik tackles it all: his upbringing; coming to terms with his own Jewish heritage; his records; drugs; romance; bankruptcy; and even becoming a Buddhist monk. Exhaustive in his research, the author has conducted dozens and dozens of interviews including Nick Cave, Jim Keltner, Hal Blaine, Jennifer Warnes, Don Randi, Andrew Loog Oldham and many others.
With Everybody Knows, I set out to explore Leonard's oceanic body of work. But this book is not a monologue. It is socially constructed, meaning that it is a conversation among many of his professional and personal confederates - band members, producers, engineers, DJs, academics, filmmakers, authors, photographers, previous biographers, well-informed pundits and fan(atic)s - who have had decades to think about and reflect on the role Leonard has played in shaping their space. He is Whitmanesque in his reach, a welter of contradictions, simmering with multitudes.
The book itself is a work of art and includes extraordinary black-and-white and color photographs. The graphics are remarkable and the quality of the production is stellar.
Everything you ever wanted to know about Leonard Cohen is contained on these 200+ pages. Everybody Knows is the first and last word on Leonard Cohen.
Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Steven Rosen, 2014