Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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Shortly after I threw away my first bra, my mother and I went to hear Leonard Cohen read in a classroom at UBC. It was his first tour and my first orgasm.

Leonard wore his guitar and a black leather jacket. I was done for.

My alarmed mother recognised the agonised ecstatic expression on my face and took me to the Faculty Club for a huge lunch, three desserts. For families unwilling to send hormonal daughters on grand tours to divert the first stirrings of lust, food was a cheap antidote. They could trust a kumquat but couldn't predict what would happen when their daughters encountered equipment adjusting Italian males.

Meditterranean men are my weakness.

Now it is forty years later. I have survived sex, drugs and rock and roll, mostly because I did them all in moderation. Cohen has survived personal failures and other acts of god and vengeful woman.

Always quick to recognize metaphor, I do know when eros is just a stand in for agape. I don't/never did see baldymonk as a sex toy with sound equipment. For me, he has always been the priest of the impossible possible.

Now, he says, he has found his joy, and I believe him.

At seventy-four, Cohen has flex in his step, his voice and his soul.

Gold is a flexible metal. I have worshipped at gilded monuments and recognize its properties.

After the concert, which lasted three glorious hours, my mother and I ran into my thesis advisor from long ago and far away. The thesis advisor, an eminent Canlit scholar, remembers me as a student willing to stand up and take the rotten tomatoes thrown by Maoists who despised the "decadent feudal poet."

He wanted to know if I had come to my senses YET.


Leonard Cohen has a great lyric gift. His words flow like honey. That is not ejaculate. It is divine love. Like his ancestors, rabbincal scholars, he interprets holy laws through the stained glass of the phenomenal world.

His failures are ours, his successes come from a greater mind.

That is music.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Linda Rogers

Linda Rogers is the author of the novels Say My Name (Ekstasis Editions, 2000), Friday Water (Cormorant Books, 2003) and The Empress Letters (Cormorant Books, 2007). She has also published several collections of poetry, including Love in the Rainforest (Exile Editions, 1996), Heaven Cake (Sono Nis Press, 1997), The Saning (Sono Nis Press, 1999) and The Bursting Test (Guernica Editions, 2002).

Go to Linda Rogers’s Author Page