As Leonard Cohen turns 80, a new biography by Liel Leibovitz explores the life, work and passion of the poet-turned-musician. What makes Cohen such an enduring international figure in the cultural imagination?

Granted extraordinary access to Cohen's personal papers, Leibovitz evokes a complicated, sometimes contradictory figure. Born into a Canadian religious Jewish family, for years a reclusive lyricist on the Greek island of Hydra, known for his bold political commentary, his devotion to Buddhist thought and his later despair over contemporary Zionism, Cohen hardly follows the rules of a conventional rock star.

An intimate look at a man who, despite battles with stage fright and years spent in hermit-like isolation, is still touring and now seems to be reaching a new peak of popularity.

In episode 2, despite success as a poet, Cohen feels the need to escape to the Greek island of Hydra.

Read by Julian Barratt, with Leonard Cohen quotes read by Colin Stinton.
Abridged by: Jo Coombs
Producer: Pippa Vaughan
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.

Release date:

Available now

15 minutes

Last on

Wed 25 Jan 2017 02:45


Role Contributor
ReaderJulian Barratt
ReaderColin Stinton
ProducerPippa Vaughan
AbridgerJo Coombs
AuthorLiel Leibovitz

Radio 4 on Music: Kaleidoscope - Leonard Cohen