Flowers for Hitler
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
In Flowers for Hitler, Leonard Cohen’s third collection of poetry, Cohen first experiments with his self-consciously "anti-art" gestures: an attempt, in his own words, to move "from the world of the golden-boy poet into the dung pile of the front-line writer." Haunted by the image of the Nazi concentration camps, the poems within are deliberately ugly, tasteless, and confrontational, setting out to destroy the image of Cohen as a sweet romantic poet. Instead, it celebrates the failed careers and destroyed minds of such "beautiful losers" as Alexander Trocchi, Kerensky, and even Queen Victoria. Cohen, in Flowers for Hitler, is an author auditioning himself for all the parts in an unwritten play, underlining the process of self-recovery and self-discovery that is at the center of these poems.