The Spice-Box of Earth

Published in 1961, The Spice-Box of Earth was the volume which established Leonard Cohen's reputation as a lyric poet; it remains the most popular single volume of his verse.

Leonard Cohen, musician
Cohen was already one of the most influential and popular Canadian writers when his songs gained him an international reputation (photo by Alexander W. Thomas).
Leonard Cohen, musician
Image: \u00a9 Lois Siegel

Published in 1961, The Spice-Box of Earth was the volume which established Leonard Cohen's reputation as a lyric poet; it remains the most popular single volume of his verse. The language is rich, sensuous and beautiful, but many of Cohen's darker themes - victimization, loss, cruelty - are nonetheless present. The poems deal with the role of the poet, with his inheritance of the Jewish tradition, and of course with love. Among the best-known poems are "As the Mist Leaves No Scar" and the lovely "For Anne", which Cohen nominates as his own favourite poem. But perhaps the most searching poem in the volume is the darkly symbolic "You Have the Lovers", which sets out in concise form the themes later explored in Cohen's novel Beautiful Losers.


Selected Works of
The Spice-Box of Earth

Songs of Leonard Cohen