Writing In Public celebrates the art and intelligence of essays, online and in print.

writing-in-public.jpg
In those days, it was easy to join the rev­o­lu­tion

In those days, it was easy to join the rev­o­lu­tion

Geist_MontrealVisitor221.jpg

Ann Diamond's essay on the '70s and meeting Leonard Cohen @ Geist.
In 1966, when I was fif­teen years old, I saw Leonard Cohen sing “The Stranger Song” on Canadian tele­vi­sion. Not long after­wards, I took the sub­way from the dor­mi­tory sub­urb where I lived with my par­ents, into down­town Montreal and to Classics Bookstore, where I bought my first book of poetry, The Spice-Box of Earth, for which Cohen had won much crit­i­cal praise. Magic was afoot.In 1968, when I was start­ing uni­ver­sity, I went to my first poetry read­ing. At the Rainbow Bar and Grill.

Applause. A slight man in a dark jacket approached the stage, head down, and spoke to Lane for a moment, then melted back into the crowd. Lane told us Leonard Cohen had declined to read — he had come only to lis­ten. The audi­ence groaned in dis­ap­point­ment. In the inter­val a mad­man sud­denly stormed the stage, grabbed the mike and began to rave and weep. No one knew what to do, except Patrick Lane, who embraced him like a brother. The man returned to his seat and the crowd com­posed itself to lis­ten to the next reader, but every­one kept look­ing around for Leonard Cohen, who had vanished.

The fol­low­ing week a let­ter appeared in the pages of the stu­dent news­pa­per for which I was news edi­tor. It was signed by one of the poets who had read that same evening. Reaching back into the recent lit­er­ary his­tory of Montreal, the poet built a case accus­ing Leonard Cohen of “sell­ing out.” What exactly had been sold, and to whom? What had he done to deserve this rant­ing assault? At sev­en­teen I read hid­den knowl­edge, and no small amount of envy, between the lines.
 read more

Something lost can be recovered there

Something lost can be recovered there

Indian food made me more English

Indian food made me more English