For the first time in its history, The New Yorker, esteemed for its consistent publication of great poetry, will stream on its website (www.newyorker.com ) Leonard Cohen’s new lyric “Going Home,” one of ten songs on his new studio album, Old Ideas. The New Yorker will publish the lyric in its January 23rd issue (on newsstands January 16th). The song will also be streamed on The New Yorker website on January 16th. Cohen and Sony will release the album on January 31st (www.leonardcohen.com/us/news/new-album-old-ideas-be-released-013112 ).
New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon, who has been listening to Cohen since 1967, said that he is “thrilled” this will be happening in the magazine, which has recently been acknowledging the great power and achievement of singer-songwriters. Muldoon said, “The New Yorker has been publishing lyrics over the past years by Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Paul Simon…Cohen is in some elite company, including his own!” Cohen’s rich, complex lyrics have intoxicated listeners for more than a generation; his work bridges the world of lyric poetry and song. A selection of Cohen’s poems and songs has recently been published by the prestigious Random House “Everyman” series, which includes in its pantheon Rumi, Keats, Byron, Pushkin, Dickinson, Frost, and, now, Cohen (www.randomhouse.com/knopf/classics/resources_press.html ). Already, through a second printing, a new edition will be released later this winter.
Recently, Cohen’s work has been receiving literary recognition throughout the world. In late October, Cohen received the Príncipe de Asturias, the highest literary award granted by Spain (www.youtube.com/watch?v=5u_7e3Tv7Uk ). PEN New England has also awarded Cohen and Chuck Berry its first “Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence.” Judges included Bono, Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, Paul Muldoon, Smokey Robinson, Salman Rushdie, and Paul Simon.
His native Canada, which has honored Cohen before, will bestow the Ninth Glenn Gould Prize upon Cohen for his great artistic achievement in bringing literary richness to popular music and for touching “audiences far outside his main genre.” Cohen’s honors and the recent nomination of Bob Dylan for the Neustadt International Prize (www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jun/03/leonard-cohen-major-spanish-literary-prize ) reflect the cultural recognition of folk-rock songwriters as poets of the highest order.