Listen to Michael Shannon Narrate Leonard Cohen's 'Kanye West Is Not Picasso' Poem

Kanye West
Calla Kessler/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Kanye West speaks during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington D.C. on Oct. 11, 2018. 

Kanye West has been attracting so much attention lately, that even the late Leonard Cohen had to get a word in. 

A book of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s unpublished poems, The Flame, was released by Cohen’s son Adam on Oct. 2, including a poem Cohen wrote about Kanye West in 2015 titled “Kanye West Is Not Picasso."

Although it is unclear what exactly inspired Cohen to write the poem, West has been known to make frequently make statements asserting his genius. At a 2013 concert, West declared himself Picasso, Michelangelo, Basquait, Walt Disney and Steve Jobs, between songs. In 2015, during a speech at Oxford University, West said, “My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater.” Of course, West later named his album The Life of Pablo.

The Flame will also be made into an audiobook, as it was announced Friday (Oct. 12), and it will feature a lineup of voices including Seth Rogan and Margaret Atwood.

Michael Shannon reads "Kanye West Is Not Picasso" in an already-released Soundcloud clip, featuring the actor's rough drawl and hilariously serious delivery. 

Check out Cohen’s full poem and Shannon's audio below.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.