In 2006, Leonard Cohen published Book Of Longing, a collection of poetry and drawings. Now, a California woman has accused the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins of sexual harassment, and Book Of Longing figures prominently in the case.
Ellen Pao claims that the firm treats women like second-class citizens and she was harassed by senior partner Randy Komisar. He reportedly gave Book Of Longing to Pao after a discussion on Buddhism (Cohen wrote the book while on a Buddhist retreat), but Pao found the gift troubling. The poems and drawings are graphic in nature, dealing with the famed songwriter’s struggle with sex and love as he entered his seventh decade.
Pao contends that the gift was equivalent to making a crude proposal or inappropriate touching, but the defendant says otherwise. He claims the book was his wife’s idea, but with passages like “You came to me this morning/ And you handled me like meat/ You’d have to be a man to know/ How good that feels how sweet,” it’s hard to imagine any wife knowingly wrote off on this as a gift. [Daily Swarm/The New York Times]