Poetry News

Leonard Cohen Accepts Glenn Gould Prize, Donates Money

By Harriet Staff

Leonard Cohen donated the 50k Glenn Gould prize money to the Canada Council for the Arts. Very cool.

Here, in this The Globe and Mail article, he discusses his relationship with Glenn Gould:

He recalled meeting the Toronto native for the first time around 1960. A twenty-something Cohen was interviewing Gould for a magazine and nervously ventured to the pianist’s apartment to meet.

“This was before the days of tape recorders,” said Cohen, who recalled that the interview – intended to last a few minutes – stretched for hours.

“I was so engrossed by what he was saying, I stopped taking notes. Those words were burned into my soul.”

Until Cohen returned to his Montreal home to write, that is.

“I couldn’t remember a word that he said,” added Cohen, who became the ninth recipient of the Glenn Gould Prize and followed in the footsteps of Montreal jazz great Oscar Peterson and Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu Gould and Cohen would meet again years later, at Columbia Records’ New York headquarters.

“He was recording something sublime, I was recording something otherwise,” quipped Cohen, noting that he was, at the time, endeavouring to master the hip new slang.

“I said (to Gould), ‘Hey man, what’s shaking?’ He said: ‘I didn’t know you were from Memphis, Tennessee.’”

Originally Published: May 16th, 2012
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