In later chapters, as Cohen seeks his fortune in New York City, Simmons describes how he crosses paths with Smith, Lou Reed, and Allen Ginsberg. But while Cohen was quite willing to include sex, drugs, and surrealism into his poems, he wasn't willing to adopt the plain vernacular of the Beats, preferring to hold onto the symbology and elevated language of the Montreal literary scene. Simmons admires Cohen's early poems and fiction, but I've always found them a bit stilted, more clever than moving. I do agree with her that the songs, for better or worse, are a natural outgrowth of the poems. Simmons points out that texts such as "Suzanne," "Master Song," and "Fingerprints" were poems before they were songs. In adapting these pieces to music or creating new lyrics, Cohen never carved out sufficient space for the rhythm and melody to do part of the work; they always seemed extraneous appendages. Of course, it didn't help that he couldn't sing.