Rod McKuen, Poet Laureate Of Treacle, Dead @ 81

NEW YORK TIMES: Rod McKuen, a ubiquitous poet, lyricist and songwriter whose work met with immense commercial success if little critical esteem, died on Thursday in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 81. Mr. McKuen, whom The St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture described as having been, at his height, “the unofficial poet laureate of America,” RODMCKUENwas the author of dozens of books of poetry, which together sold millions of copies. For a generation of Americans at midcentury and afterward, Mr. McKuen’s poetry formed an enduring, solidly constructed bridge between the Beat generation and New Age sensibilities. Mr. McKuen’s output was as varied as it was vast, spanning song lyrics, including English-language adaptations (“Seasons in the Sun”) of works by his idol, Jacques Brel. “There was a time not long ago when every enlightened suburban split-level home had its share of Rod McKuen,” The San Francisco Chronicle wrote in a 2002 profile. “His mellow poetry was on the end table (‘Listen to the Warm’), his lovestruck music and spoken-word recordings were on the hi-fi and his kindly face was on the set, on ‘The Tonight Show’ and Dinah Shore’s variety hour.” Mr. McKuen’s verse found little favor with reviewers. “What McKuen guarantees is that a certain California sexual daydreaming can be yours for the asking even if you do move your lips rapidly as you read,” Louis Cox sniped in The New Republic in 1971. MORE