Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen started out as a poet, before economic necessity led him into folk singing. In this thorough biography, Nadel, a Canadian English professor, tells of Cohen's childhood in Montreal, his university days in Toronto, his travels to the United States and Greece, and the publishing of his early poetry which earned him a considerable reputation. Cohen's verse proved translatable into song and his deep voice was melodic enough for him to make it at the folk festivals. His dark lyrics of depression and self-doubt, of searching for meaning in sexual release, of a life suffused with restless intensity, struck a chord with a worldwide audience. Though suicide was a constant theme of his songs, Nadel finishes the book optimistically with Cohen finding peace at a Zen monastery in Los Angeles.
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