Monday, 10 December, 2018

Hear Michael Shannon read Leonard Cohen’s "Kanye West Is Not Picasso": Stream

Leonard Cohen's posthumous book Chris Pizzello AP The Canadian Press Leonard Cohen's posthumous book"The Flame includes a poem about Kanye West
Adrian Cunningham | 12 October, 2018, 19:17

Poems in "The Flame" are said to have been selected and ordered by Cohen himself.

Dated March 15, 2015, the poem is a cheeky point-counterpoint narrative surrounding the boastful nature of the hip-hop star, who once declared onstage: "I am Picasso".

Kanye West dominated the news cycle Thursday, thanks to his freakish meeting with President Donald Trump. In Cohen's about-to-be-published final book The Flame, he included a poem titled "Kanye West Is Not Picasso". But many were quick to call it "a diss poem from beyond the grave". "Kanye West is not Edison".

Regardless of what one's interpretation - or opinion - of this poem may be, Cohen actually spoke positively about West a year before he wrote "Kanye West Is Not Picasso". Cohen's poem later switches focus back to West, alluding to his habit of crashing other people's stages - be it Taylor Swift's or Beck's - when he writes, "I am the Kanye West Kanye West thinks he is / When he shoves your ass off the stage".

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Cohen did not appear to bear any ill will toward the fervent Trump supporter during a 2014 interview with the Wall Street Journal. It's the energy, it's the resonance of truth, of person, of real experience.

Cohen also name-checks Jay-Z in the poem, saying "Jay-Z is not the Dylan of anything". And the late singer and songwriter scrawls that he "only come [s] alive after a war".

"To be clear: I think this sucks", tweeted New York Times staff editor Willy Staley, adding that Cohen sounded like a "hater".