Autograph letter signed (“Leonard”) to Marianne Ihlen ("My Darling Marianne"), Havana [April 1961].

Two pages, 215 x 275mm, pencil, with transmittal envelope (torn).

Writing from Cuba, and reveling in revolution vibes. “Cuba vibrates with energy. And this is just the beginning. All of South America is on the threshold of revolution. Sometimes I look at my poems and feel quite obsolete before the forces of history. People must eat. There must be an end to humiliation.” He continues, “It seems months and months since I have been able to talk to anyone. I felt this in Montreal. Here the isolation seems more complete because of the language, at which I am very poor. And Revolution is not hospitable to neurotic melancholy, which is just as a Revolution should be. In short, I miss you. I miss our intimacy, and I wonder when we shall renew it, or it will always be these poor words drifting back and forth over oceans.”

Cohen would later acknowledge that he romanticized the political strife he sought during this trip: "I had this mythology of this famous civil war in my mind. I thought maybe this was my Spanish civil war, but it was a shabby kind of support. It was really mostly curiosity and a sense of adventure" (qtd in Nadel, p.91).

He closes: “It’s great to not wear underwear, to burn your feet on the sand, to taste the salt. I remember all your clothes. Write me. All my love Leonard.”

By descent from Marianne Ihlen.
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Write Me and Tell Me Your Heart: Leonard Cohen's Letters to Marianne
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