Plan your visit to The CJM!
Leonard Cohen at his writing desk, drawn by TAC intern Amara Bhatia


Leonard, My Muse: Drop-in Writing Classes

Fridays, Sep 24, Oct 22, Nov 19, Dec 17, 2021 | 12:30–1:30pm

ADMISSION: $5 Members; $20 general (per class). Attendance is limited to 18 participants per session.

Leonard Cohen inspired generations of artists, musicians, and poets. In conjunction with Experience Leonard Cohen, tap into your own well of creativity through these special workshops taught by Bay Area-based poets.

These 60-minute Zoom workshops will include readings and analysis of Cohen’s poetry, writing prompts for you to generate your own creative work, and opportunities to share aloud with others in the group. Each workshop will be taught by a different poet from the community, who will bring their unique experience and perspective to the workshop.

Workshops will be led by Lee Herrick (Sep 24); Jen Siraganian (Oct 22); Amanda Moore (Nov 19); and James Cagney (Dec 17).


To register, click below on the session you'd like to attend.

Please note that a Zoom account is required to register for the program. If you do not have a Zoom account, please create one by clicking "Sign up free" at the top of the registration page.

Friday, Sep 24→

Friday, Oct 22→

Friday, Nov 19→

Friday, Dec 17→

About the poets
Headshot of James Cagney
James Cagney

James Cagney is a poet from Oakland, CA. His poems have been published in Alta, Poetry Daily, and Patrice Lumumba: An Anthology of Writers on Black Liberation, among others. Cagney's first book, Black Steel Magnolias In The Hour Of Chaos Theory, won the PEN Oakland 2019 Josephine Miles award. It is now available from Nomadic Press. His second collection, Martian: The Saint of Loneliness, is due in September 2021. Visit for more. 

Headshot of Lee Herrick
Lee Herrick

Lee Herrick is the author of three books of poems: Scar and FlowerGardening Secrets of the Dead, and This Many Miles from Desire. He is co-editor, with Leah Silvieus, of The World I Leave You: Asian American Poets on Faith and Spirit (Orison Books). He served as Fresno Poet Laureate from 2015–2017. His poems appear widely in literary magazines, anthologies, and textbooks including The Bloomsbury ReviewColumbia Poetry ReviewBerkeley Poetry Review, The Normal School, The Poetry Foundation, ZZYZYVASeeds from a Silent Tree: Writing by Korean AdopteesHighway 99: A Literary Journey Through California's Great Central Valley, 2nd edition, The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems from the San Francisco Bay WatershedOne for the Money: The Sentence as Poetic FormIndivisible: Poems of Social Justice, and HERE: Poems for the Planet, with a foreword by the Dalai Lama (Copper Canyon, March 2019), among others. Herrick is on the advisory board of The Adoption Museum Project and has traveled throughout Latin America and Asia, as well as given readings throughout the United States. He was born in Daejeon, South Korea, adopted at ten months old, and raised in California. Herrick lives with his daughter and wife in Fresno, California. He teaches at Fresno City College and in the MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College. 

Headshot of Amanda Moore
Amanda Moore

Amanda Moore’s debut collection of poetry, Requeening, was selected for the 2020 National Poetry Series by Ocean Vuong, and will be published by Ecco in October 2021. Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies including Best New Poets, ZZYZVA, and Mamas and Papas: On the Sublime and Heartbreaking Art of Parenting. Her essays have appeared in The Baltimore Review, Hippocampus Magazine, and on the University of Arizona Poetry Center’s blog. Serving as poetry editor at Women's Voices for Change and a reader at VIDA Review and Bull City Press, Moore is a high school English teacher and lives by the beach in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco.

Jen Siraganian

Los Gatos Poet Laureate Jen Siraganian is a writer, educator, and literary organizer. She has served as Managing Director for Litquake: San Francisco’s Literary Festival, been nominated for a Ruth Lilly Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize, earned scholarships from Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, and authored a poetry chapbook titled Fracture. Her writing has appeared in Best New Poets 2016, Cream City Review, Mid-American Review, Smartish Pace, Barrow Street, Southwest Review, Not Somewhere Else But Here: A Contemporary Anthology of Women and Place, and other literary journals and anthologies.

About the Exhibition

Through his poetry, novels, songs, and lyrics, Leonard Cohen expressed the complexities and desires of body and soul—a compelling metaphor for the twenty-first century Jewish experience. An observant Jew, Cohen also deeply explored Buddhism and various other worldviews. His commitment to questions of spirituality and existence shines through in songs such as “Suzanne,” “Bird on a Wire,” and “Hallelujah,” which masterfully combine mystery and universality with sacred and profane, and are now imprinted on our collective memory. Experience Cohen’s legacy like never before—through the eyes of contemporary artists George Fok, Judy Chicago, Candice Breitz, and Marshall Trammell.

Black-and-white image of Leonard Cohen, sitting on a train and looking towards the camera

Lead Sponsorship of Experience Leonard Cohen is generously provided by Craig Newmark Philanthropies.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) thanks Maribelle and Stephen Leavitt, The Bernard Osher Foundation, Suzanne and Elliott Felson, the Irving and Eleanor Jaffe Foundation, the John Pritzker Family Fund, Taube Philanthropies, Kendra and Tom Kasten, and Jessica Silverman for generously supporting the exhibition.

Media Sponsorship is provided by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Public Programs at The CJM are made possible thanks to generous support from Grants for the Arts and the Walter & Elise Haas Fund.