Cohen, Leonard (Norman )
- Mark C. Samples
(b Montreal, QC, Sept 21, 1934). Canadian songwriter, singer, poet, and novelist. He was born into an upper-middle class, observant Jewish family. His first career was as a poet, for which he studied at McGill and Columbia universities. He published several novels and collections of poetry in the 1950s and 60s, working in London, on the Greek island of Hydra, and in Montreal. While in New York he was exposed to the Beat poets’ practice of reading poetry accompanied by a jazz performance, which he brought with him when he returned to Montreal. Although Cohen gained critical acclaim as a poet, he found it difficult to support himself. He turned to music more seriously in 1966, seeking to reach a broader audience and a new source of income. His first musical ally was Judy Collins, who recorded several of his songs, beginning with “Suzanne.” In 1968 he released his first album, ...