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Poems Leonard Cohen wrote before his death to be published

His new poetry book was finished days before he passed

It's been almost a year since Canadian crooner Leonard Cohen's death, but memories of the gravelly-voiced “Hallelujah” singer are being kept alive by a new book of poetry, written by Cohen shortly before his death.

The Guardian reports that The Flame, a book of Leonard Cohen’s final poems, intriguingly tackles “the flame and how our culture threatened its extinction”.

We're not exactly sure what that description means, but what we do know is that the book will be published next year, October 2018, incorporating lyrics from Cohen's last three albums – as well as the 2006 album Blue Alert by Anjani, Cohen’s backing singer, co-songwriter, and girlfriend.

The Flame follows on from a dozen other books of poetry written by Cohen, including 1964's Flowers for Hitler and 2006's Book of Longing.

Cohen originally built his career on poem-writing. 

According to the New Yorker, he lived in London in the early 1960s, making money from writing sad poetry in a cold room, before moving to Greece where he was inspired to write even more poetry, and met Marianne, the muse behind one of his most famous songs, “So Long Marianne”.

He turned his hand to songwriting and released his first album, the Songs of Leonard Cohen, in 1967, but didn't leave his poetic roots behind him. He became known for setting poems by other poets to music.

Cohen’s manager and trustee of his estate Robert Kory spoke to the Guardian about the conception of the new book: “During the final months of his life, Leonard had a singular focus – completing this book, taken largely from his unpublished poems and selections from his notebooks. The flame and how our culture threatened its extinction was a central concern.

“Though in declining health, Leonard died unexpectedly. Those of us who had the rare privilege of spending time with him during this period recognised that the flame burned bright within him to the very end. This book, finished only days before his death, reveals to all the intensity of his inner fire.”