Leonard Cohen wrote the poem 'Kanye West Is Not Picasso'
(Credit: David Shankbone / Roland Godefroy)

Leonard Cohen once wrote a poem titled ‘Kanye West Is Not Picasso’

The great Leonard Cohen, always in touch with the arts, once wrote a poem titled ‘Kanye West Is Not Picasso’.

The work, which was unearthed as part of a posthumous book called The Flame, arrived as part of a collection of Cohen’s poetry and lyrics written prior to his death in 2016. “The Flame is the final work from Leonard Cohen, the revered poet and musician whose fans span generations and whose work is celebrated throughout the world,” a press release said of the book. “Featuring poems, excerpts from his private notebooks, lyrics, and hand-drawn self-portraits, The Flame offers an unprecedentedly intimate look inside the life and mind of a singular artist.”

“This volume contains my father’s final efforts as a poet,” writes Cohen’s son, Adam Cohen, in his foreword. “It was what he was staying alive to do, his sole breathing purpose at the end.”

For Cohen, a prolific creative who expressed his unique view on life through a number of different mediums, always returned to poetry as his companion. Offering tackling topics of depression, religion, politics and more, Cohen found the romanticism in the most testing of topics throughout his life. “Poetry is just the evidence of life,” he once said, adding: “If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”

While poetry was a form of escapism for Cohen, the Canadian was always wary of labelling himself as a specialist in the field. “I always thought that poetry is the verdict that others give to a certain kind of writing.” he once said. “So to call yourself a poet is a kind of dangerous description. It’s for others; it’s for others to use.”

Adding: “Out of the thousands who are known or who want to be known as poets, maybe one or two are genuine and the rest are fakes, hanging around the sacred precincts, trying to look like the real thing.”

Given his expansive views on the artform—and the difficult themes in which he approached—the decision to turn his attentions to the rapper, musician and budding politician Kanye West raised eyebrows. Is Kanye West Picasso? Not according to Leonard Cohen.

‘Kanye West Is Not Picasso’ — Leonard Cohen

Kanye West is not Picasso
I am Picasso
Kanye West is not Edison
I am Edison
I am Tesla
Jay-Z is not the Dylan of Anything
I am the Dylan of anything
I am the Kanye West of Kanye West
The Kanye West
Of the great bogus shift of bullshit culture
From one boutique to another
I am Tesla
I am his coil
The coil that made electricity soft as a bed
I am the Kanye West Kanye West thinks he is
When he shoves your ass off the stage
I am the real Kanye West
I don’t get around much anymore
I never have
I only come alive after a war
And we have not had it yet

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