Typed letter signed (“Leonard”) to Marianne Ihlen ("My darling"), New York, 3 January 1963.

One page, 305 x 185mm, aerogram (minor loss at margins).

In the first of many letters postmarked from New York, Cohen hopes to sell his book. He reports being broke but “happy in a wild sort of way, optimistic, ready for anything," mentions Kenneth Koch and Morton Rosengarten, and describes a meeting with his American agent at length: “He struck me as someone who never read a book, certainly not the kind of book I’d ever write. The atmosphere was solemn, nearly morbid. I was interviewed by several people in his office and I finally asked one point-blank if she’d read my book. She said she had, but from her expression I gathered she derived little or no humor from the experience. In the most humourless way I was invited not to expect too much, that books were hard to sell, that mine was impossible, that everybody in the commercial world of letters was starving—all of this taking place on the richest avenue in the richest city in the world. I had to restrain myself from offering them all a loan of cash. We’ll hear from the first publisher in about two weeks. If I sell the book I may be back in Europe very soon.”

"My little darling, I've got that picture I sent Esther [his sister] of the three of us in Grapho's and I look at it often. I have not been to the East but you are certainly the most beautiful woman in the Western World. I miss you so much, especially right now."

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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