Let Us Compare Mythologies

Leonard Cohen

This reissued short book of poetry is the laborious work of a young man. Cohen’s voice is confident and reawakens the melancholy and awe of those new to the amorous arts. The first, “Song,” evokes the tortured passion of separated lovers, and “Poem” elegantly details the desperate and fleeting nature of erotic love. His Jewish heritage infuses his imagery as well as his neo-biblical diction (as in Testament and For Wilf and His House), which conjures up the mythic, unforgiving atmosphere of the Old Testament. Despite a kind of hyper-descriptiveness that seems to haunt most early poetry, this is nevertheless the testament of a genius in the making. Cohen’s mature, gravelly, baritone voice continually sounds in your head while reading, testifying to the sacred power of verse.