Autograph letter signed (“Leonard”) to Marianne Ihlen ("My darling Marianne"), Havana and the Canadian Embassy, 17 April 1961.

One page, 275 x 215mm (a little light soiling); with transmittal envelope.

Writing on the day of the Bay of Pigs invasion: “The island has been invaded and communication cut off. I don’t know when I should be able to leave. There is no fighting in the city, except for the occasional anti-aircraft blast, so don’t worry about me.” Despite the chaos he remains hopeful that one of his television scripts will be sold and promises that “If so, I will you send you a ticket and you will fly immediately to Montreal. It is urgent that I see you. Don’t despair, my little Mu, it will happen soon.”

Cohen's time in Cuba would produce an unpublished novel—"The Famous Havana Diary"—as well as several poems that would appear in Flowers for Hitler, including "The Only Tourist in Havana Turns His Thoughts Homeward," "All There is to Know about Adolph Eichmann," and "Death of a Leader," and one in The Energy of Slaves (1972), "It is a Trust to Me." Biographer Ira Nadel notes, "Collectively, the poems express disillusionment with Castro as a genuine revolutionary, since his regime had become 'oppressive and repugnant.' Cohen declared in September 1963, 'Power chops up frightened men. I saw it in Cuba.'" This letter is written from the Canadian Embassy—he had been brought there at the request of his worried mother who had called a Canadian senator and asked him to track down her son in the midst of the unrest (Nadel, pp.96-97).

By descent from Marianne Ihlen.
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