http://youtu.be/fOdbFnVB_yY. McKuen reading his poem "The Sea."
Now, the floor will be turned over to New England-by-way-of-Orange County poet Victor Infante, who found a way to diminish McKuen (an acquired taste, if one remembers his song score for A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN, but someone who lived in an era when spoken-word recordings on major labels were a little more acceptable than now) in the context of eulogizing Maya Angelou last year in the litizine RADIUS:
When Maya Angelou died Wednesday, I told a story to my co-workers that I don’t think I’ve ever told before: That in my early teens, I read my way through the Laguna Beach Public Library’s poetry section. In retrospect, it wasn’t a very large section, not in the early to mid ’80s, but I would sit on the floor near the section and just read, sometimes flying through two or three books at a time.
This was my first exposure to numerous poets: Ginsberg, Byron, Shelley, Eliot, cummings, Plath .. and yeah, Rod McKuen. Some of the poems I loved because I could easily understand them – such as McKuen – and some of them I loved because they were totally opaque to me, because I thought that was cool. Thankfully, I grew out of both opinions eventually, although I should note I keep a McKuen poem pinned to the inside cover of one of my poetry notebooks. Just because.