“Rod McKuen was the Bestselling Poet in American History. What Happened?”

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.”

Read more here.

1 reply »

  1. He didn’t last well, now it’s probably back to Walt Whitman. but the population of poetry readers has dwindles to a vestige.


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