Leonard Cohen Reads “The Future” (Not Safe for Work)

If you’ve been feeling the End Times’ icy breath a little close on your shoulders these past few weeks, we recommend a healthy dose of Leonard Cohen. You can start with this 20-minute interview from 1993, conducted by Barbara Gowdy of the Canadian literary series, Imprint. And click “play” with caution — it starts with Cohen reading the very NSFW poem “The Future,” from his eponymous 1992 album.

The second you hear that famous blue baritone say “Give me absolute control over every living soul,” you know the apocalypse can certainly wait till the poem’s over. Or maybe it can’t, but at least you’ll have spent your last few moments listening to Leonard Cohen.

(You can find other interviews from the Imprint series in this archive, including Tom Wolfe, Khaled Hosseini, Ursula LeGuin, Russell Banks, and more.)

Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Variety, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly.



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  • Carl

    Is that poem really not safe for work, or is your work just not safe for poetry?

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