An Apt 2015 Poem Leonard Cohen Wrote About Kanye West Has Resurfaced

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Leonard Cohen was best known for his music, but he was also a prolific poet, which makes sense considering how related the two endeavors are. That part of his legacy got some attention last week, when The Flame — a posthumous collection of Cohen’s poems, lyrics, and drawings — was released. Amanda Shires, who recently released her new album To The Sunset, is a big-time Cohen fan, and she pointed out this morning that one of the poems in the book is titled “Kanye West Is Not Picasso.”

She also shared the text of the poem, and it reads:

“Kanye West is not Picasso
I am Picasso
Kanye West is not Edison
I am Edison
I am Tesla
Jay-Z is not the Dylan of Anything
I am the Dylan of anything
I am the Kanye West of Kanye West
The Kanye West
Of the great bogus shift of bullshit culture
From one boutique to another
I am Tesla
I am his coil
The coil that made electricity soft as a bed
I am the Kanye West Kanye West thinks he is
When he shoves your ass off the stage
I am the real Kanye West
I don’t get around much anymore
I never have
I only come alive after a war
And we have not had it yet”

The poem is dated March 15, 2015, so it was presumably written in response to a statement Kanye made at Oxford a couple week earlier, when he said, “My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater… That always sounds so funny to people, comparing yourself to someone who has done so much, and that’s a mentality that suppresses humanity.”

Read Cohen’s “Kanye West Is Not Picasso” poem above.

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