The late Leonard Cohen was at least as well known for his poetry as for his legendary songwriting. He has a new posthumous book called The Flame: Poems Notebooks Lyrics Drawings out now, and the collection includes a poem called “Kanye West Is Not Picasso.”
Conveniently, roots rock luminary Amanda Shires, a recent Album Of The Week honoree, has chosen to share the full text of this poem on Twitter. It apparently was written on March 15, 2015, a day before the UK’s Glastonbury festival announced Kanye as its headliner and Cohen’s album Popular Problems was named Album Of The Year at Canada’s Juno Awards. At the time Kanye was promoting his upcoming album So Help Me God (LOL) and had just released a handful of songs with Paul McCartney, while Cohen was leading up to the release of his live album Can’t Forget.
If I’m reading it right, the poem is not flattering toward Kanye. “Kanye West is not Picasso/ I am Picasso,” Cohen writes. Later he adds, “I am the Kanye West Kanye West thinks he is/ When he shoves your ass off the stage.” As for Kanye’s longtime frenemy Shawn Carter, Cohen writes, “Jay-Z is not the Dylan of anything/ I am the Dylan of anything.” And don’t forget, “I am the Kanye West of Kanye West/ The Kanye West/ Of the great bogus shift of bullshit culture/ From one boutique to another.” The poem ends, “I only come alive after a war/ And we have not had it yet.” It’s intense!
Read the full text of the poem below.
“Kanye West Is Not Picasso” by Leonard Cohen, from Cohen’s new book ‘The Flame.’ pic.twitter.com/w5lUfkjdYv
— S H I R E S’ $Hit Show (@amandashires) October 11, 2018
A posthumous Cohen album is in the works.