Photograph by Bob Gentry 8/5/99
A Thought for Today
To be eloquent, let your soul speak.
Last week was a bad one for A Safe Place To Land. We were down and off the map for nearly two days. Our
service provider, the lovely Acenet, had no explanation. You can bet Ken was all over them. As he said about it 'the best part of last week was Saturday, because the week was over." Amen.
Can you send me a copy of your bio for my school project I need it by Friday 4/21/00 Miguel A. DeJesus
Dear Miguel, there's a bare bones biography you can download from the home page. Hope this helps. Cheers, Rod
A LETTER FROM JENNIFER
Dear Mr. McKuen, I was so pleasantly surprised to find your Website, so that I could thank you for all the years of enjoyment I have received from your books! I first started reading your poetry when I was 12 years old, finding the books in my mom's study. I have searched libraries all over the US every time I visit another state hoping to find copies of your work that I have not been able to procure for myself, and then handwriting the poems for my own collection.
You are a beautiful writer, and a wonderful man. I recently lost my mom at the too young age of 52, and one of my most treasured mementos of hers is a copy of your poem, Lonesome Cities, written in her hand that she kept in her journal forever. Today was my 30th birthday which makes it 18 years that I have been reading your writing and listening to your songs. Thank you for the deep love of poetry and expression that you brought to my life. Sincerely, Jennifer Verge
Dear Jennifer, Please accept my condolences for the loss of your mother. Yes, fifty-two is a very young age to leave this world. I wish she were still with us so that I might write her a thank you note for introducing you to my work and so that you might enjoy her love and council a bit longer
Instead, let me thank you for your continued interest in searching out those libraries for my old books. Rumor has it some of them will be adding a new one before very long. With affection, Rod
Dear Mr. McKuen, I found myself listening to a CD of a performance of yours at Carnage Hall. It pulled me back to when I was 16 years old again. My life at that time was painful and lonely but I carried your poetry around, close to my heart as I might a shield for protection. Although my problems changed I have never forgotten the effect that words worked in my soul. I write, but my poems serve as a response to feelings I could not otherwise give voice.
You have seen hundreds of thousand of letters like this one and my story is unique only to me. But I wanted to express my appreciation for your talents in poetry and music. I thank you for this opportunity to express my gratitude. SG&255
Dear SG, My gratitude, affection and thanks to YOU. And, guess what, you write for the same reasons I do. Warmly, Rod
BLOCK THAT BLOCK!
What do I say? You have touched my life deeply..brought vivid images to my head when it seemed writer's block had me to the point of suffocation... thank you for sharing your mind with me. Lady
Dear Lady, Writer's Block is the worst. Those terrible times when The Muse is too busy, lazy or preoccupied to pay a visit. Glad I helped a bit.
I Feel very lucky in my own life these days, am going full speed ahead. I worked all night long on the new book (knock wood, nearly finished) and finally went to sleep at 9:30 AM. Woke up at 4:30, had my meal of the day then back to work. 3:15 AM now. Anxious to finish this FP & get it to Ken so I can go back to the book. Good luck on your writing and court your muse. Affectionately, Rod
CAUGHT IN THE QUIET
Rod, Thank-you for the unpublished poetry & Caught in the Quiet.
In the mid seventies I had a collection of most all your poetry books, but through the following few years gave them away to friends, with only two books remaining, put away on a shelf for the last 20 years. But, for some reason the memories of your writing came back tonight.
I read these two books, and then went to several bookstores hoping to buy back some of the books I had given away so many years ago, the one book that I especially hoped to find was 'Caught in the Quiet' (even though I cannot remember the exact writings, it was one title/book I knew I had enjoyed, and had hoped to find). The stores did not have any books on hand, so I thought through the internet, just maybe I'd find an address or phone # to order the books.
It was a nice surprise to see you too have recently returned to some of those times/memories. I guess maybe I was looking for just what you've named all this, 'A safe Place to Land'. As for hunting for 'Caught in the Quiet' in the stores tonight (after 20+ years), and finding it to be the book you generously chose to have online, is another surprise, and very much appreciated. With sincere thanks, Janet Basl
Dear Janet, Glad you were able to find ASPTL and in particular, "Caught in the
Quiet". I wanted to give something back to all those who have given so much to me. Since "Caught in the Quiet" is a book I'm particularly fond of, it seemed like a logical choice. I'm pleased it was something you wanted.
As for the "Unpublished Poetry," it won't stay that way very long, since many of the 25 poems published on the site over the past two years will soon be in my "A Safe Place To Land" book. Of course, this means I'll be featuring a whole new batch of new works on the site. I really am committed to giving those who honor me by dropping in on ASPTL things they can't find anywhere else. And what isn't available here can be had from Stanyan by Mail. All the best, Janet. Rod
Hi Rod, How are you? Being British it tickles me to hear some of the "hip" phrases which come out of the States every so often. The latest being "what's up?" This used to be like a question when something was amiss - now it's taken the place of "hello" or "what's
happening?" - just makes me laugh when these phrases catch like a contagious "lexicon flu"!
We are all guilty of catching these "new" phrases over the years
and I guess if you read say Jack Kerouac and hear the fifties hip words they are equally funny. Imagine Shakespeare though "What's up through yonder window breaks" "If music be the food of love, awesome!"
Rod what are you planning for your B'day? Gonna have fun?
Am going through some big changes in my life at this time. Some out of necessity and some of my own freewill. I figure it's never to late to dream. To shed skin and now I find myself free to be and do and live whatever and wherever I want, providing it's legal and pays! I once read that Jimmy Webb told his children "the most important thing I can teach them is to dream". I heard that when I was about 11 years old and I've never forgotten it. So I have a new dream now
and I'll need all God's help and plenty of my own. I'll let you know how it comes along. It will and if not it won't be for the want of trying!
Still love the FP and you! In Fifties slang, "you're the most!" in Sixties London, "fab", Seventies disco "bad mamajamma" Eighties sci-fi you're "out there!" Nineties dance you're "wicked!" and as an L.A. friend of mine said the other day, simply, "you're still "cool beans" baby" STEVE
Dear Steve, My old buddy Jimmy Webb got it right. If you can dream it, you can usually make it happen. It's my contention that most people don't dream big enough.
As for the birthday, because Edward's is on the 27th and mine the 29th we celebrate on the 28th. My turn for a surprise this year, I'm taking him to a restaurant he's never been to. Today he leaves for Boston to represent both of us at our sister Ruth's (on his side of the family) and her husband Jimmy's 50th wedding anniversary. He'll arrive back just in time for the birthdays.
By the way the 'Whassap Guys" are all very funny and deserving young men. It's nice to see them have a bit of celebrity worldwide.
Thanks for all the 'groovy' through the years phrases and adjectives. To use an old 'show biz' phrase, 'break a leg' on your change in life and career's. I know you'll have those changes if you want them badly enough. Faithfully, Rod
Dear Rod, Because I also share an April birth I have been enjoying your collection of April inspired poems this month --reminds me of the calendars that graced my walls so many Aprils ago. I am in envy of your reports of mild weather as we had snow and bitter cold for my birthday this year (unusual even by Buffalo, NY standards, our bad reputation is not always deserved)! Looking forward to lilac days, Lucy
Dear Lucy, As you can see today, The April poems continue. Glad you picked up on them and a belated Happy Birthday. Sorry about the weather in Buffalo. But, lets face it a little extra winter in beautiful Buffalo beats winter anywhere else. Affectionately, Rod
HEARTFELT ADVICE TO KEVIN
for your world. 1967, as a young person growing into the person I am
today, your books and LP's were never far away. Today you are still in
my heart, and more so. A happy heart makes you smile all day.
for my smile. Thank you for my heart. I'm now a father teaching my 10
year old son to find his heart. Thank you from a friend you never met.
Dear Kevin, Thank You for all the nice thoughts. If you want to really please me, steer your son toward Mozart and away from Rap. It may not be easy, but you'll never regret it. Warmly, Rod
I'll be back tomorrow and until then be good to one another and sleep warm.
4/15/2000 Previously unpublished