It's hard to write a biography of an artist with as many career and relationship arcs as Leonard Cohen has experienced in his 78 years on Earth. But that's exactly what celebrated music journalist Sylvie Simmons has done with I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen.
Cohen's iconic stature as singer, songwriter, novelist and poet certainly merits a definitive work on his life and career. After spending a decade as one of the most critically acclaimed voices in Canadian poetry, Cohen moved to the United States to pursue a career as a folk singer-songwriter and achieve more financial success. Cohen then established a formidable musical career based on his powerfully emotional and influential songwriting.
Simmons is just the writer to chronicle Cohen's dual careers in music and literature, having a rich writing history of her own spanning more than 35 years. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The Guardian, The San Francisco Chronicle and MOJO, for which she is contributing editor and Americana columnist. She also authored the biographies Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes and Neil Young: Reflections in Broken Glass. She covers Cohen's complex love life, extravagant drug and alcohol use and the financial swindle that led to his remarkable comeback as a septuagenarian live performer. In this installment of World Cafe, hear Simmons discuss I'm Your Man with host David Dye.