Groovy Poetry

Rob McKeunThe Carols of Christmas

Submitter: Here are a couple of poetry books I just withdrew since they haven’t checked out in several years. They aren’t “awful” in content – other Nikki Giovanni and Rod McKuen books still check out here – but the covers were just so groovily early 70s, I had to submit them.

Here’s a link to one of Rod McKuen’s spoken word album poems about a cat. He was well-known as a songwriter as well as a poet and was a Grammy winner – from what I’ve heard, it’s all very mellow and emotional. Check out his Wikipedia article. He’s one of those people who was very popular at one time, but not so much any more.

Holly: I’m not into poetry, and will admit that I’ve never heard of Rod McKuen. Nikki Giovanni, yes. I agree that these covers are too awesome not to post, though! And here’s a link to a Rod McKuen poem called “A Cat Named Sloopy.” I wonder if that’s ‘ol Sloop on the cover.


Nikki Giovani



  1. What? No scans of the poetry??? I have several Rod McKuen books – one or two autographed copies. I saw him in concert in 1973. Yes, I was a sloppy, idealistic teen at the time…

  2. You’ve never heard of Rod McKuen? Where were you keeping yourself in the 70s? Like Kathy, I was a “sloppy, idealistic teen” then, and I babysat for a neighbor who had his books of poetry. I copied some into a notebook that I might have hanging around somewhere 40 years later! Poems like Sailing Through the Sun from In Someones Shadow. He’s the one who wrote, “Strangers are just friends waiting to happen.” (I hate those kind of greeting card sayings now!)

  3. Aw, the Sloopy poem was so sad! I was actually pleasantly surprised by his writing, based on that cover. That sweater….

  4. My mom was a big fan of Rod McKuen back in the day and she gave me a few of his albums to transfer to MP3 (my turntable can be hooked up to a computer), but I haven’t been able to summon the mental fortitude to get through an entire album to do so. It’s just so . . . not my style, to put it mildly.

  5. Nikki G.: time for reprint with a nice 21C cover. This one looks like some middle school kids made a collage out of back issues of Ebony. Just sayin’…

  6. I’ve been a big Rod McKuen fan since stumbling upon a book of his poetry at a book sale many years ago. Recently picked up a couple of his albums on vinyl. Haven’t ever seen this book of his but I love the cover!

  7. If a book called “The Carols of Christmas” doesn’t contain well-known popular “Christmas carols”, it’s false advertising. And if it does… is Rod McKuen responsible for any of those? “New Carols for Christmas” claims yes but I don’t recognise the titles (but I’m writing from Scotland, we don’t really have “Joy to the World”, we don’t do joy) except for “Simple Gifts”, which may or may not be “that” one i.e.
    Another of the titles is indeed “The Carols of Christmas”, so presumably it is one of those Christmas songs about Christmas songs.

  8. I loved Rod McKuen in the 70’s when I was a teenager. The sweater he is wearing is an Irish fisherman’s knit, very complicated to knit and very popular in the 70’s. McKuen was part of the popular culture of that decade, never considered a serious poet, and probably only of interest to those of us who listened to and read his poems way back when. I also love Nikki Giovanni’s poetry. She is a well-respected serious poet and her books are worth keeping. The cover of that book is symbolic of the the era, though not attractive now.

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