Unpublished manuscript poem by Cohen
COHEN, Leonard. The Favourite Game. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963.
8vo. Original cloth and dustwrapper; pp. 222; some spotting to top edge, bump to bottom edge, rubbed corners, wrapper is age-toned with some scuffing, otherwise very good. Provenance: with original poem in Cohen's handwriting to ffep, and ownership inscription of Sharon Brown. The three-stanza verse is inscribed "For Sharon" and shares a tone of romantic regret with famous lyrics such as "Bird on a wire": "leaving me a leaf of hair to plant in the corner of my sleep/and a car ride through the highways ruins taking an old fresh field with me, like a scrap of paper caught on the aerial/ and delivering me to where I began, waiting for the harvest with fish nets and spider webs and empty pockets white and proud as sails."
First edition of Cohen's first novel. Originally twice the length and entitled Beauty at Close Quarters, the book was rejected by Cohen's Canadian publishers and was first published in London in its present form four years after he wrote it.
The Spice-Box of Earth. Toronto/Montreal: McClelland and Stewart,1961.
8vo. Stiff paper wraps; pp. 88; some scuffing to extremities, a few creases to covers, ink spot to top edges, binding very tight, very good. Provenance: ffep signed and inscribed by Cohen "To Sharon", and with ownership signature of Sharon Brown.
First edition. Cohen's second book of poetry was greeted enthusiastically, with the critic Robert Weaver proclaiming him 'probably the best young poet in English Canada right now'.
Four different photographic images, plus an image of 10 negatives: some multiples, printed in different exposures and crops, for a total of 11 sheets. These show Cohen, playing guitar, singing, mid-conversation, and with friends. These photos are apparently unpublished and are very informal and relaxed. They appear to be from a slightly later period than the books, circa 1970.
Little is known about the dedicatee, although with the help of Allan Showalter of the website Cohencentric we have conjectured that this is the same Sharon Brown who, as a student at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, published an article called "Cohen Becomes Hero" in the 14th January 1968 issue of Chevron, the student newspaper. We do not know the precise circumstances of their connection, or whether one of the women in the photographs is Sharon herself, but her article is certainly full of adoration: "he's, thankfully, different from any other hero. He's beautiful, for one thing… He's gentle, and he's intimate". It is natural to speculate that this collection is the memento mori of an affair with the notoriously philandering poet and songwriter. Cohen left a long string of broken hearts behind him, and the poem in The Favourite Game certainly has the air of a thinly veiled goodbye. He was also famously tight-lipped about the many women in his life. As he once said: "I never discuss my mistresses or my tailors." (The Guardian, 2001).