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Leonard Cohen

For 30 years, Leonard Cohen has played at subverting his own success as a singer and poet. Now he is a monk at a Zen centre in California. Is this another put-on or has the sinner-songwriter finally found peace?

By Pico Iyer   October 1998

In the falling mountain darkness, I pull my car off the high, winding road into a rough parking lot. An older man, stooped a little and shaven-headed, in tattered black gown, woollen cap and glasses, comes out to greet me. He extends a hand, bows, picks up my case and leads me off to a cabin. He worries about my “long drive,” asks if I will be okay here, heats up a pot of tea and slices some fresh bread. As night falls, he offers me a young woman he…

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