Sunday, June 24, 2007
Book Report: Suspension Bridge by Rod McKuen (1984)
Spare the Rod and spoil the child, that's my new motto. I continue reading Rod McKuen poetry at my son (at because he's often only in the room when I'm reading poetry to him these days; he's at an interim age where he's too engaged in moving around and his own projects to sit quietly on one's lap for reception of book knowledge or storytelling). I do so even though I'm really unimpressed with most of McKuen's work past the middle 1960s, and my positive impression of the remainder of his work only moves him from bad poet to mediocre poet in my estimation, but I'm not Allan Bloom, so you don't have to take my word for it. There's so many Rod McKuen books floating out there you can probably pick one up for a quarter somewhere. I wouldn't be surprised if you could find them for free in a mass landfill buried with old Atari E.T. cartridges.

This book refers back to Stanyan Street and Other Sorrows with the additional reflection of fourteen years' elapsing. The poet has endured a number of relationships moving on in that time, so all the poetry is extra-sepiaed. A particularly devilling tic in the book is its name-dropping; a large number of the poems are dedicated to someone and many more use names as shorthand for the passage of time. Frankly, it doesn't work for me because I don't know who he's talking about.

Unfortunately, McKuen suffers additionally from my recent reading of Carl Sandburg. McKuen comes out better when I've just bitten off a chunk of Emily Dickinson than when I read someone who's enjoyable and deep.

One more down, several more to go. I also have this weird sense I am going to try to get a complete set of McKuen's works just because I can. That, friends, is the drive of a diseased book collector.

Books mentioned in this review:


To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."