Publication Year: 1976
Tags: Poetry, Beat Poets, Lamentations
My paperback copy of this book has McKuen’s autograph, from 1976, displayed in prominent Magic Marker (and dated) on the front cover. My friend, who was working for the now-defunct Waldenbooks chain, got the book and autograph for me when the poet toured; Russ knew that I’d been a fan since I first discovered McKuen’s work in 1968 (I was 10 at the time). I only recently re-discovered it – I had preserved it so carefully that it was lost in some of my older boxes.
This is the first of McKuen’s works (to my knowledge) to comment on his then-newfound fame in the Introduction. He observes, “If I sell five copies of a book, [critics] are unanimous in their praise. If I sell ten, I can expect one dissent. If the number grows to ten thousand, my reviewers will always be ‘mixed.’ At ten million, I have detractors of every persuasion, most notably those reviewers who read the statistics not the books. …I say again, the poem is me. I lived, or am living it. I accept no advice on how it could or should be lived.” (p.11 of this edition) Continue reading “Beyond the Boardwalk”