cover image Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows: Inside His Archive

Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows: Inside His Archive

Leonard Cohen, edited by Julian Cox and Jim Shedden. DelMonico, $39.95 (168p) ISBN 978-1-63681-091-1

In this captivating offering, Cox, deputy director of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and Shedden, publishing manager for the Art Gallery, successfully translate to the page the 2022 exhibit they curated on musician Cohen (1934–2016). Photos, artwork, handwritten notes, and lyrics drawn from the Leonard Cohen Family Trust present a visual archive of the songwriter’s life. Shining a light on Cohen’s youth are photos of him and his parents, a letter to his mother from camp, and an image of the Buckskin Boys, the country trio Cohen performed with as a McGill undergrad. Drawings and paintings Cohen made as an adult (there’s an ink sketch of Kleenex tissues and a vibrant watercolor of dancers) offer an expanded look into his artistry, though the most illuminating material is the handwritten alternate lyrics to such songs as “Hallelujah” and “Everybody Knows,” as well as unpublished poems that will deepen readers’ appreciation of Cohen’s gift with words. The bounty of photos and the musician’s writings will be catnip for Cohen’s fans, as will the insightful essays by music journalists and academics on Cohen’s artistic process and his fascination with self-portraits. This doting and lavish compendium makes for a fitting tribute to a songwriting giant. Photos. (Feb.)