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Leonard Cohen week: songs, poems and new music from the man himself 
By
Andrea Warner

Published

September 12, 2014

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Leonard Cohen turns 80 on Sept. 21, and the literary and lyrical genius continues to be a creative inspiration and source of wonder.

The dichotomy of his cultural impact is more than the poems he's whispered into Canada's ears or the songs he's freed from the confines of the page. Cohen winds intellect, humour, grace, love, sex, philosophy, theology and spirituality around the ugliest aspects of the world and humanity and makes them beautiful.

He's always been a wise voice, perhaps in part because he unpicks and analyzes himself as much as he feeds and perpetuates his own mythology. But his elder statesman role isn't without slyness, playfulness or perversion, nor ego or humility.

Cohen digs at things for decades until he gets them right, and there's no better place to see that reflected than with our Canadian exclusive advance First Play of Cohen's new album, Popular Problems, starting Monday, Sept. 15.

CBC Music will also have some other great content including a list of 25 essential Leonard Cohen songs with writeups from Margaret Atwood, Mitsou, Chvrches and more, plus an epic gallery of 80 reasons to love Leonard Cohen. We have five new exclusive videos, the Cohen Sessions, featuring covers from Ron SexsmithBasia Bulat and more. There's also a discography giveaway, a video playlist of the best covers that aren't "Hallelujah," a line-by-line supercut of "Hallelujah" (featuring John Malkovich!), beautiful reimaginings of Cohen songs as book covers and more. Oh, and you can win Cohen's discography!

CBC Radio 2 has declared Sept. 19 Leonard Cohen Day, and will feature special programming and play tracks from his new record. You can also catch the two-part special, Various Positions — Leonard Cohen in His Own Words, on Inside the Music on Sept. 14 and 21, using archival CBC interview footage from Cohen dating back 50 years. And be sure to visit ICI Musique for some great French-language features.