11 Leonard Cohen Quotes

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In this blog we present a list of curated quotes by Leonard Cohen. 

Leonard Cohen Quotes

Leonard Cohen was and still is one of the most beloved Canadian signer, songwriter, and author from the 1960s. 

He has been awarded with Canada’s highest honour as a Companion of the Order of Canada and has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Flavia, GoalCast)

Cohen’s career started out in literature then merged his literary career with a musical career.He was known for the way he commanded his audience with this poetic and inspirational music as well as his commentary of love, life, society, and the human experiences through his writings. 

Here are some more quotes by Leonard Cohen curated by the BrainyQuote

Quotes on Mental Health by Leonard Cohen

“I speak of a clinical depression that is the background of your entire life, a background of anguish and anxiety, a sense that nothing goes well, that pleasure is unavailable and all your strategies collapse.” —Leonard Cohen 

“My mind was always very cluttered, so I took great pains to simplify my environment, because if my environment were half as cluttered as my mind, I wouldn’t be able to make it from room to room.” —Leonard Cohen 

“We’re always experiencing joy or sadness. But there are lots of people who’ve closed down. And there are times in one’s life when one has to close down just to regroup.” — Leonard Cohen 

“The term clinical depression finds its way into too many conversations these days. One has a sense that a catastrophe has occurred in the psychic landscape.” — Leonard Cohen 

“The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.” — Leonard Cohen 

Quotes on Social Issues by Leonard Cohen 

“Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act. Leonard Cohen The older I get, the surer I am that I’m not running the show.” — Leonard Cohen 

“At a certain point, if you still have your marbles and are not faced with serious financial challenges, you have a chance to put your house in order. It’s a cliche, but it’s underestimated as an analgesic on all levels. Putting your house in order, if you can do it, is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable.” —Leonard Cohen

“Women stand for the objective world for a man. They stand for the thing that you’re not and that’s what you always reach for in a song.” —Leonard Cohen 

“When you stop thinking about yourself all the time, a certain sense of repose overtakes you” — Leonard Cohen 

“This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled. But there are moments when we can… reconcile and embrace the whole mess, and that’s what I mean by ‘Hallelujah.’” —Leonard Cohen 

“And most people have a woman in their heart, most men have a woman in their heart and most women have a man in their heart.” —Leonard Cohen 

“Success is survival.” —Leonard Cohen 

“I never had huge amounts of money when I was young. I had huge amounts of fame, and I always had the sense of labour and recompense. I always said I don’t want to work for pay, but I want to get paid for my song.” — Leonard Cohen 

“Most of the time one is discouraged by the work, but now and again by some grace something stands out and invites you to work on it, to elaborate it or animate it in some way. It’s a mysterious process.” —Leonard Cohen 

“This is the most challenging activity that humans get into, which is love. You know, where we have the sense that we can’t live without love. That life has very little meaning without love.” — Leonard Cohen 

“Let judges secretly despair of justice: their verdicts will be more acute. Let generals secretly despair of triumph; killing will be defamed. Let priests secretly despair of faith: their compassion will be true.” —Leonard Cohen 

“A woman watches her body uneasily, as though it were an unreliable ally in the battle for love.” —Leonard Cohen 

Quotes on his literary career by Leonard Cohen

“I had the title poet, and maybe I was one for a while. Also, the title singer was kindly accorded me, even though I could barely carry a tune.” —Leonard Cohen

“There are writers who are great visionaries, who can depict huge movements – things like that. They’re the great writers. I’m just the other kind.” — Leonard Cohen 

“I didn’t want to write for pay. I wanted to be paid for what I write.” — Leonard Cohen 

“Out of the thousands who are known or who want to be known as poets, maybe one or two are genuine and the rest are fakes, hanging around the sacred precincts, trying to look like the real thing.” —Leonard Cohen 

“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” — Leonard Cohen 

“I always considered myself a minor writer. My province is small, and I try to explore it very, very thoroughly.” —Leonard Cohen 

“I am an old scholar, better-looking now than when I was young. That’s what sitting on your ass does to your face.” —Leonard Cohen 

“I’ve got beautiful reviews for all my books, and I’m very well thought of in the tiny circles that know me, but I’m really starving.” —Leonard Cohen 

“As a young man, Yeats spoke to me in a way I could understand. Shakespeare I couldn’t understand, but Yeats I could. It was his subject matter and also I really admired the way he put his personal life on the line.” —Leonard Cohen 

“I always thought that poetry is the verdict that others give to a certain kind of writing. So to call yourself a poet is a kind of dangerous description. It’s for others; it’s for others to use.” —Leonard Cohen 

Quotes on his music career by Leonard Cohen

“I was 15 when I first became deeply touched by the rhythm and structure of words.” — Leonard Cohen 

“If I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often.” — Leonard Cohen 

“We used to play music for fun. Much more than now. Now nobody picks up a guitar unless they’re paid for it.” —Leonard Cohen 

“I don’t consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin.” — Leonard Cohen 

“When things get really bad, just raise your glass and stamp your feet and do a little jig. That’s about all you can do.” — Leonard Cohen 

“Music is the emotional life of most people.” — Leonard Cohen 

“The basic function of popular music is to create an environment for courting, lovemaking, and doing the dishes. It’s useful because it addresses the heart in the midst of all these activities, and it will always be useful in this very important way.” —Leonard Cohen 

“We’re in a world where there’s famine and hunger and people are dodging bullets and having their nails pulled out in dungeons so it’s very hard for me to place any high value on the work that I do to write a song. Yeah, I work hard but compared to what?” —Leonard Cohen

“I never really liked poetry readings; I liked to read poetry by myself, but I liked singing, chanting my lyrics to this jazz group.” —Leonard Cohen

Here are some quotes by Leonard Cohen curated by Flavia Merdut for GoalCast

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” —Leonard Cohen 

“The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.” —Leonard Cohen 

“Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as a secret to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.” —Leonard Cohen 

“How can I begin anything new with all of yesterday in me?”—Leonard Cohen 

“Avoid the flourish. Do not be afraid to be weak. Do not be ashamed to be tired. You look good when you’re tired. You look like you could go on forever. Now come into my arms. You are the image of my beauty.” —Leonard Cohen 

“If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day.”—Leonard Cohen 

“Reality is one of the possibilities I cannot afford to ignore.” —Leonard Cohen 

“First of all nothing will happen and a little later, nothing will happen again.” —Leonard Cohen 

“My reputation as a ladies’ man was a joke that caused me to laugh bitterly through the ten thousand nights I spent alone.” —Leonard Cohen 

“As our eyes grow accustomed to sight they armour themselves against wonder.”—Leonard Cohen 

“It’s hard to hold the hand of anyone who is reaching for the sky just to surrender.”—Leonard Cohen 

“It doesn’t matter what you do because it’s going to happen anyway.”—Leonard Cohen 

“Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.” —Leonard Cohen 

“Music is the emotional life of most people.”—Leonard Cohen 

“I never had the sense that there was an end: that there was a retirement or that there was a jackpot.”—Leonard Cohen 

“I don’t really understand that process called reincarnation but if there is such a thing I’d like to come back as my daughter’s dog.”—Leonard Cohen 

“The older I get, the more sure I am that I’m not running the show.” —Leonard Cohen 

“When things get really bad, just raise your glass and stamp your feet and do a little jig. That’s about all you can do.” —Leonard Cohen 

“I’ve always been into self-dramatisation. I intend to live forever.” —Leonard Cohen 

“When you stop thinking about yourself all the time, a certain sense of repose overtakes you.” —Leonard Cohen 

“A woman watches her body uneasily, as though it were an unreliable ally in the battle for love.” —Leonard Cohen 

“All of my writing has guitars behind it, even the novels.”—Leonard Cohen 

FAQ related to Leonard Cohen quotes

What is Leonard Cohen’s most famous song?

Leonard Cohen’s most famous song is “Hallelujah” (1984)

What illness did Leonard Cohen have?

Leonard Cohen was diagnosed with Leukaemia, Coagulation Defects however it is widely reported that he had a fall to which he succumbed to.

What was Leonard Cohen’s first song?

One of the first songs Leonard Cohen released was “Suzanne” (1967) which was the opening track of Leonard Cohen’s debut album which made him a household name. 


Merdut.F. 22 Leonard Cohen Quotes to Make You Dance to the End of Love. GoalCast. Retrieved on 28th Feb 2022. https://www.goalcast.com/leonard-cohen-quotes/

Leonard Cohen Quotes. BrainyQuote. Retrieved on 28th Feb 2022. https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/leonard-cohen-quotes

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