Nominating Leonard Cohen for a Nobel Prize

In the first of several programs celebrating Paul Kennedy's 15 years as host of IDEAS, he revisits an "old chestnut" from his personal archive. This lively open forum was recorded at the 2005 Blue Metropolis Literary Festival in Montreal. Panelists include critic, Ed Palumbo; poet, translator and broadcaster, Michel Garneau; jazz singer, Karen Young; and poet George Elliot Clarke....
Leonard Cohen (AFP/Getty Images)
Listen to the full episode53:58

In the fall of 2013, we broadcast several programs celebrating Paul Kennedy's 15 years as host of IDEAS. Nominating Leonard Cohen for a Nobel Prize was one of the episodes we revisited. This lively open forum was recorded at the 2005 Blue Metropolis Literary Festival in Montreal. Panelists include critic, Ed Palumbo; poet, translator and broadcaster, Michel Garneau; jazz singer, Karen Young; and poet George Elliot Clarke.


A personal note from Paul Kennedy

Way back in 2005, I made a radio program for IDEAS about Leonard Cohen. Although it's one of my favourite ever shows (as you'll hear if you listen to this repeat broadcast from 2013) it all really started out as something of a joke (as you'll learn if you make your way to the very end of it).

That's not to say that I was not, still am, and will ever be in absolute awe of Leonard Cohen.
I had the honour of meeting him only once. 

It was a Monday morning after the weekend when the CBC television documentary about his signature song "Suzanne" was broadcast. Cohen was in the building, doing a TV interview about being inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. He asked the television producer whether Paul Kennedy had an office anywhere nearby.

The producer called me, and invited me to the studio where the interview was taking place. When it was over, I walked up to Leonard Cohen and introduced myself.

"Mr. Cohen, my name is Paul Kennedy. I understand you asked to see me..."

"Are you the person who made that documentary about Suzanne? I was in my hotel room and caught it by accident."

"Um, er... " I stumbled. "Yes, I guess I am."

"It was a truly wonderful portrait of an amazing and extraordinary woman! Thank you."

"Well, you wrote the song about her. Thank YOU!"

We shook hands, and went our separate ways.

Thanks, in fact, for everything, Leonard Cohen. 

Rest in Peace.


WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE REAL SUZANNE? WATCH PAUL KENNEDY'S DOCUMENTARY

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.