What do you see when you look at Leonard Cohen? He is a celebrity in the internet age – in part because of the many cover versions of his songs – but his career straddles a wide array of cultural milieus and creative venues. In France he joins the tradition of the chansons; in Poland his work contributed to an underground culture of resistance against the communist government. He began as a poet in the lyric mode, under the tutelage of Montreal modernists, publishing paeans to “his lady,” whether she be Anne or Marita or Marianne. As early as 1958 he appeared on the CBC Radio program Anthology, setting his work to guitar accompaniment. In 1963 he published a Montreal-saturated Bildungsroman – the sweetly poetic first novel, The Favourite Game. Soon afterward he found an edgier voice – one more attuned to popular culture, European history, and the legacy of colonialism in his poetry volume Flowers for Hitler and in his great, provocative second novel, Beautiful Losers. Then the influential music executive John Hammond signed him to Columbia Records, linking Cohen’s early output, on such records as Songs of Leonard Cohen and Songs from a Room, with Columbia cohorts Bob Dylan, Benny Goodman, and Aretha Franklin.

The above is an excerpt from the introduction by Norman Ravvin


The Firefly Books  edition is now available at fine bookstores everywhere.

EAN-13: 9780228102885

Publication Date:



8.75in x 5.5 in

Pages: 192

Price: $22.95

Signed copy?
customized inscription



The human mind is a kind of wild ox bull. The Zen master, the poet, the artist, the graphic novelist, all can impart wisdom, means, and materials to tame its primal nature. Art allows the patient, attentive student to change their perceptions of reality and their places in it. Cohen’s journey over the course of his life, described in these wood engravings, can be a chart to guide us as we struggle on our own long walks to achieve our true natures.

The above excerpt is from the Afterword by
Tom Smart











































































































Created: 2014
Medium: 80 wood engravings hand printed on 250 gm Rising Stonehenge 100% rag archival paper and comes fully bound in cloth with a clamshell protective box.
Book size: 6¼" X 8" X 2½" (232 pages printed recto)
Edition size: 80 copies signed and numbered
(Leonard Cohen turned 80 years old on September 21, 2014)

 Price: $880.00 USD + shipping

The book is housed in a clam shell box made from the finest quality materials. Written in a xylography of pictures the book is accessible to readers of many languages.

In his latest wordless biography, master engraver George A. Walker presents a series of 80 wood engravings celebrating the 80th birthday of one of Canada’s most beloved cultural icons. The Wordless Leonard Cohen Songbook commemorates Cohen’s artistic accomplishments and explores the ways in which the image of Leonard Cohen has appeared in popular culture for a career spanning over six decades.

Arranged chronologically, the engravings depict scenes from Cohen’s many and varied creative endeavours, including poetry, novels, singing and songwriting. The book also presents portraits of some of the many famous characters who shared Cohen’s life and friendship, from poets Irving Layton and Allan Ginsberg, to musicians Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin, to celebrated artist Andy Warhol. Readers are invited to bring their own associations to bear in interpreting the the significance of the scenes and the people depicted therein.

The Wordless Leonard Cohen Songbook takes as its inspiration not only Cohen’s own poems, novels and songs, but also other sources, from biographies about the Canadian icon to short anecdotes relayed at a concert. In his images, Walker strives to communicate the importance of Cohen’s Zen Buddhist philosophy and plays with numerology, particularly the symbolism behind the number 8. Readers are encouraged to seek relationships between engraving numbers, sequences, and visual elements.

The Wordless Leonard Cohen Songbook originated as a limited edition of 80 copies hand printed in Walker’s studio in Leslieville, Toronto.


Reviews, Articles, Quotes, Endorsements:

[Praise for Leonard Cohen: A Woodcut Biography]

While some images are based identifiably on existing photographs (“Some photos are so iconic you can’t avoid them, they speak so much to Cohen’s life”), Walker also gives himself licence to go beyond the strictly historical. Cohen and Jimi Hendrix met, but as far as anyone knows were never photographed together; likewise, the stories of Phil Spector pulling a gun on Cohen in the studio during the recording of Death of a Ladies’ Man are legendary but undocumented. Walker depicts these moments anyway — and others involving Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Joni Mitchell and more — in a way that respects history without being entirely beholden to it. 

—  Montreal Gazette, November 7, 2020  Ian McGillis

[Praise for Leonard Cohen: A Woodcut Biography]
"Definitely succeeds as an art book, thanks to the quality of Walker's engravings; and as a collectible for Cohen fans, thanks to how well the artist captures his subject." 

In Leonard Cohen, master engraver George A. Walker offers new perspectives on the life and artistic accomplishments of a poet and musician who has captivated generations for six decades and whose influence circles the globe still. Arranged chronologically, the engravings depict scenes from Cohen's many and varied creative endeavors, including poetry, novels, singing and songwriting. The book also presents portraits of some of the many famous characters who shared Cohen's life and friendship, from poets Irving Layton and Allan Ginsberg, to musicians Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, and celebrated artist Andy Warhol. Best read to music, Leonard Cohen presents images of Cohen's iconic public persona alongside vivid interpretations of his ever-evolving work. The engravings compose a biographical mosaic that invites readers to contemplate the public perception of Cohen's critical and commercial acclaim. Some scenes are drawn from history, others from Walker's imagination. The images encourage us to search beyond the visual elements and to see in them a poem, a song, a meaningful turn of phrase. They urge us to consider Cohen's life and work through the lens of our own experience. Leonard Cohen was conceived as a celebration of Cohen's eightieth birthday and was first published as a limited edition of eighty copies hand printed at Walker's studio in Toronto. This revised edition has 2 additional engravings. 
Foreword Reviews Sept. 2020





Each image is drawn in reverse onto a piece of endgrain Canadian Maple and then inked in with pen and brush before the enngraving process begins.The blocks are then engraved with spitstickers, scorpers and lining tools and readied for the press and first test proofs.


After preparing the block the image is pencilled and then inked before engraving.

All the areas that are not inked are engraved.

The Blocks are proofed on a Vandercook SP15 proof press.

The title page engraving and the lead type are locked into the press for printing.

Proofs are sorted and arranged in their order before being printed.

After hand-sewng the books are cased in Japanese Asahi bookcloth