Leonard Cohen (1934-2016), Kenneth Koch, and the Island of Hydra

Leonard…

Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets

                   

Very sad news broke last night that the legendary songwriter, singer, and writer Leonard Cohen had passed away at 82.  Cohen began his career as a daring young Canadian poet and novelist, before switching to writing and performing music in the 1960s.  Not surprisingly, he is considered one of the most literary figures in popular music history.

It may be surprising, however, to hear that Cohen had a close tie to the New York School of poets, but he did, thanks to his friendship with Kenneth Koch.  Cohen and Koch fortuitously crossed paths on the Greek island of Hydra in the early 1960s, when it was a bohemian enclave of ex-pat writers and artists, and the two became good friends. At the time, Cohen was a poet and not yet a rock star, and Koch watched his later rise to fame with some surprise…

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