Michael Shannon has recorded Leonard Cohen’s poetic takedown of Kanye in ‘Kanye West Is Not Picasso’

The reading will appear in 'The Flame' audiobook, a new posthumous collection of the late artist's poetry and lyrics

Boardwalk Empire actor Michael Shannon has recorded Leonard Cohen‘s scathing poem ‘Kanye West Is Not Picasso’.

The recording is included in the audiobook version of The Flame, a posthumous collection of Cohen’s poetry and lyrics. Margaret Atwood, Maggie Hoffman, Seth Rogen and Will Patton have also recorded readings.

Shannon’s gravely voice is ideally suited for the lacerating verses, he audibly scowls through the line: “I am the Kanye West, Kanye Kanye West thinks he is when he shoves your ass of the stage”.


This collection of the late artist’s work, consists of pieces Cohen penned in the months leading up to his death in November 2016 at the age of 82.

Seemingly written on March 15, 2015, ‘Kanye West Is Not Picasso”s inclusion in The Flame was spotted by singer-songwriter Amanda Shires on Twitter. The poem may have been penned by Cohen in response to West’s headline-making speaking appearance at the Oxford Union in March 2015, and sees the narrator referencing the likes of Jay-Z, Bob Dylan and Thomas Edison.

One line, which appears to reference the rapper’s infamous stage invasion during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 VMAs, reads: “I am the Kanye West Kanye West thinks he is / When he shoves your ass off the stage“. See the poem in full below.

West has yet to respond to the poem. The rapper is due to meet President Donald Trump at The White House later today (October 11) in Washington D.C..

The Flame by Leonard Cohen is out now.


As well as this new collection of lyrics and poetry, a posthumous Cohen album is also in the works. The news was confirmed by his son Adam last month, who said: “To make a long story short, I believe that there are some really beautiful new songs of Leonard Cohen that no one’s heard that are at some point going to come out.”