At Slate, Dan Kois goes searching for poet and songwriter Rod McKuen. “I wanted to know who this incredibly famous poet was, and who his fans were, and how he was forgotten. I went searching for Rod McKuen, and I found a young man so hungry for fame that he wrote his own fan letters, a singer of novelty tunes whose early hit got plagiarized into a punk anthem, a gay celebrity who winked about his sexuality but had to lie about the man he loved. I learned that it takes a lot of dedication and hard work and luck to attain fame, but it takes something more than that to retain it. And along the way I met a man who, like me, was bewildered by this forgotten star—until he became an accidental fan, and then even more accidentally became the only person keeping Rod McKuen’s flame alive.”
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He didn’t last well, now it’s probably back to Walt Whitman. but the population of poetry readers has dwindles to a vestige.