By Lola Augustine Brown
When Leonard Cohen died last November 7 at the age of 82, we mourned as a nation. What few of us knew was that in the months and even days before his death, he was working to complete his final collection of poetry. Now the publisher McClelland and Stewart has announced that Cohen‘s The Flame will be in bookstores next fall, on Oct. 16, 2018.
Cohen chose and ordered the collection knowing that his health was in decline. The volume combines his last poems, plus prose, illustrations, notes, and all of the lyrics from his last three albums, including You Want It Darker, which was released less than a month before he died. The majority of the book will be new, previously unpublished work.
Born and raised in Montreal, Cohen began his career as a poet, publishing his first collection, Let Us Compare Mythologies, in 1956; he didn’t release his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, until over a decade later, in 1967. His poetry was the heart of his music. A Companion of the Order of Canada, he was elected to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
On Nov. 6—the eve of the first anniversary of his death—stars including Elvis Costello, Sting, k.d. lang, Feist, Lana Del Rey, and Cohen’s son, Adam, will gather at Montreal’s Bell Centre to perform in A Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen. The concert will kick off a week-long celebration of Cohen’s life and work. In the event that you’re a real Cohen fan but live far from his hometown, Air Canada is marking the event with a 15% discount on tickets to and from Montreal from Oct. 24 to Nov. 14.