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Leonard Cohen Reads a Strange, Striking Poem in This Animated Interview From 1974

Legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen died at age 82 on Monday, just when we needed his lyrics most.* Fortunately, we still have those lyrics and, thanks to a new video from Blank on Blank, some previously undiscovered audio from Cohen’s past. The video animates an obscure radio interview Cohen gave in 1974 with Kathleen Kendel, in which Cohen speculates, briefly, on his fame (“I don’t feel any compulsion to stand under the spotlight night after night or year after year unless I have something to say”) before reading a strange, striking poem called “Two Slept Together” from his 1956 book, Let Us Compare Mythologies.


Also in the interview, Cohen also recounts the story of how “Sisters of Mercy” came to be, a surreal story in itself: Cohen recalls spending a chaste evening with two locals girls during a winter in Edmonton, Canada, before slipping outside to write the song by moonlight. The video’s animation draws a parallel between the poem and the story, and considering how raw Cohen’s death still feels, it’s a poignant reminder of the man’s gift for storytelling, whether in the realm of fact or fiction.

Read more in Slate about Leonard Cohen.

*Correction, Nov. 15, 2016: This post originally misstated that Leonard Cohen died on Thursday, Nov. 10. His death was first reported on Nov. 10, but he died on Monday, Nov. 7.