Leonard Cohen – Original Handwritten Poem Manuscript, Published in his 1968 book “Selected Poems”

An extraordinarily rare handwritten manuscript for Leonard Cohen’s poem Calm, Alone, The Cedar Guitar, sent by Cohen to his editor at Viking Books, Corleis ‘Cork’ Smith.  This poem appears on page 228 in the ‘New Poems’ section of Cohen’s 1968 anthology Selected Poems: 1956-1968.

Cohen writes out the poem in blue felt tip pen, later crossing out the original title, ‘Your Plan’, and changing two words at the end using a different pen.

From Wikipedia: Selected Poems 1956–1968 is Leonard Cohen’s fifth collection of poetry, first published in 1968, and his first book to be published after his debut as a recording artist in December 1967. It was also the first of Cohen’s poetry books to be published in the US, by Viking, and offered twenty new poems along with a selection from earlier volumes. Many were hand-picked by Cohen’s long-time girlfriend Marianne Ihlen.  Published in June, the work sold 20,000 copies over the summer. Ihlen was Cohen’s longtime muse and the subject of many of his best-known songs, including ‘So Long, Marianne.’

Handwritten letters and written works by Leonard Cohen are exceedingly rare.  In the early 1960s, at a time Cohen was a struggling writer living in near poverty on the Greek island of Hydra, the University of Toronto purchased his manuscripts as part of a program to collect the works of promising young Canadian writers.  Afterward Cohen guarded his manuscripts scrupulously, and an exceedingly small number have ever come to market. A 2019 auction of his correspondence with Marianne Ihlen saw a 1960 letter sell for $56,250., while a 1964 letter sold for $35,000.

This poem was part of the collection of Cork Smith (1929-2004), a New York book editor who in a 50-year career published many important writers, including Thomas Pynchon,  Jimmy Breslin and Calvin Trillin.

A truly museum-quality Leonard Cohen collectible.  Included is a paperback first printing of Selected Poems 1956–1968, and Recordmecca’s written lifetime guarantee of authenticity.

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