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Rod McKuen is a bestselling American poet, composer, and singer, instrumental in the revitalization of popular poetry that took place in the 1960s and early 1970s. This book is a collection of autobiographical and lyrical poetry by this contemporary American chansonnier.


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Rod McKuen is a bestselling American poet, composer, and singer, instrumental in the revitalization of popular poetry that took place in the 1960s and early 1970s. This book is a collection of autobiographical and lyrical poetry by this contemporary American chansonnier.

30 review for Listen to the Warm

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    It surprises me that so many people dislike McKuen's works! I love this poet. His words are so sensually full of love and loss and feeling that I don't understand how his poetry can't speak to everyone. But maybe that isolation for the ones that it does speak to is part of the beauty of the poetry. It surprises me that so many people dislike McKuen's works! I love this poet. His words are so sensually full of love and loss and feeling that I don't understand how his poetry can't speak to everyone. But maybe that isolation for the ones that it does speak to is part of the beauty of the poetry.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    Rod Mckuen ... no matter which collection of his poems I read, they are all so beautiful, full of love, and loss, and so tired, and so awake. Breathtaking. Heartbreaking.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tallsharon

    Putting these on my online bookshelf is like leafing through a scrapbook of my life. This one is from my 20s, moving away from home, losing my virginity, drinking a little more than was good for me, crying at the drop of a hat, lost in the romance novels I had grown up on. To lay down in the darkness and listen to the warm. Says it all doesn't it. Putting these on my online bookshelf is like leafing through a scrapbook of my life. This one is from my 20s, moving away from home, losing my virginity, drinking a little more than was good for me, crying at the drop of a hat, lost in the romance novels I had grown up on. To lay down in the darkness and listen to the warm. Says it all doesn't it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    I decided to read one of my old books of poetry today called “Listen to the Warm” by Rod McKuen. Rod McKuen was one of my favorite poets back in the 1960s. He was born in a nearby city, Oakland, California. He worked in many types of jobs from newspaper man to laborer until he served in the Army who put him to work writing. On returning to civilian life his friend from San Francisco, Phyllis Diller, encouraged him to perform at the Purple Onion, and that trigger him “being discovered”. He was un I decided to read one of my old books of poetry today called “Listen to the Warm” by Rod McKuen. Rod McKuen was one of my favorite poets back in the 1960s. He was born in a nearby city, Oakland, California. He worked in many types of jobs from newspaper man to laborer until he served in the Army who put him to work writing. On returning to civilian life his friend from San Francisco, Phyllis Diller, encouraged him to perform at the Purple Onion, and that trigger him “being discovered”. He was under contract to Universal as an actor in the 1950s. In 1959 he moved to New York to compose and conduct the music for Albert McCleery’s television series, The CBS Workshop. He became a major composer having written more than 1500 hundred songs. He received an Academy Award nomination for the musical scores in 1969 for “The Prime of Miss Jane Brodie” and “A Boy Named Charlie Brown”. On the more serious side “The City: A Suite for narrator and orchestra” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in1970. He also became a renowned poet. I have not only his books of poems but also his records reciting his poems. Remember this is in the days before CDs and audiotape. His record of his book of poems “Lonesome Cities” won the 1968 Grammy for best spoken recording. Many dismissed his poetry as being too schmaltzy. Newsweek magazine called him “The King of Kitsch” but I enjoyed his mellow poetry. A few lines of his poem Clouds is an example Clouds are not the cheeks of angels you know They’re only clouds. Friendly sometimes, but you can never be sure. If I had longer arms I’d push the clouds way Or make them hang above the water somewhere else, But I’m just a man -- and on goes the poem, but this is a sample of one of his poems from the book of poems “Listen to the Warm” from 1963. The book is 113 pages long so it is easy to read in only an hour or so.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Patresa

    This book is an old friend from the sixties recently revisited. Who could forget the loving tribute to A Cat Named Sloopy? Reading through the poems re-inspired my love of poetry.

  6. 5 out of 5

    SIA

    Years ago I saw a poem from this book (Listen to the warm, Two) and I related to it so much that I bought it. Now that I've read it all I can say is that it's ge-ne-ric. Anyone could have (and everyone has) written these fucking poems. I don't know how new this super casual, kinda vent-y, and personal style was when they were written but now everyone writes like this. A couple poems about the pets who are the only ones who don't abandon him of course, a couple poems about war which doesn't seem Years ago I saw a poem from this book (Listen to the warm, Two) and I related to it so much that I bought it. Now that I've read it all I can say is that it's ge-ne-ric. Anyone could have (and everyone has) written these fucking poems. I don't know how new this super casual, kinda vent-y, and personal style was when they were written but now everyone writes like this. A couple poems about the pets who are the only ones who don't abandon him of course, a couple poems about war which doesn't seem to have affected him that much and seem out of place even, and a hundred about "love" which are actually just a lot of sexual encounters. "No one ever stays boohoo", maybe you are the problem dude. Generic guy generically writing about fucking women, every one of them gets a poem with the same imagery as all the others and almost no literary devices, but no woman has something that distinguishes her from the others, because really, for him, they're not different. All the poems feel the same, all you read is "bed", "summer", "love". This book is not a pain to read, which is why I won't give it one star, but it doesn't offer anything interesting or unique. Not cringy, unlike the poetry that you find now, but nothing worth anyone's time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Salley J Robins

    A book of poetry that reads like listening to your own thoughts. It's honest, beautiful, and has very few rhyming words. The voice of the poet sounds like your best friend, sharing and listening... and it's warm. A book of poetry that reads like listening to your own thoughts. It's honest, beautiful, and has very few rhyming words. The voice of the poet sounds like your best friend, sharing and listening... and it's warm.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Dunn

    McKuen is daring in his simplicity and it works beautifully.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    These poems are like the antithesis of Bukowski. I'm giving this collection 5 stars purely because the poems of loss are relatable as hell, beautifully written, and I am not ashamed to admit they made me cry. These poems are like the antithesis of Bukowski. I'm giving this collection 5 stars purely because the poems of loss are relatable as hell, beautifully written, and I am not ashamed to admit they made me cry.

  10. 5 out of 5

    JazzRJ

    4.5 star but I feel good about rounding up. I can honestly say I liked every poem in this collection which is rare for me. Of course there were some I loved more than others but there was not a single bad poem in this.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Gibson

    I picked up this book of poetry at a flea market. I sort of remember seeing copies of McKuens books around during the college years, but never succumbed to his populist oeuvre. I also remember people telling me I would like his “stuff.” Well, ‘stuff’ it certainly is. I don’t know how I would have reacted to this when I was in my teens, but probably the same way I reacted now—I gave it to the dog for a chew toy and self-prescribed an insulin shot. If all his poetry is like this, no wonder the nat I picked up this book of poetry at a flea market. I sort of remember seeing copies of McKuens books around during the college years, but never succumbed to his populist oeuvre. I also remember people telling me I would like his “stuff.” Well, ‘stuff’ it certainly is. I don’t know how I would have reacted to this when I was in my teens, but probably the same way I reacted now—I gave it to the dog for a chew toy and self-prescribed an insulin shot. If all his poetry is like this, no wonder the nation is headed for a Type 2 Diabetes epidemic. Good Lord, it’s all desert, without one morsel of wit, intelligence, angst, or well . . . anything nutritious. I looked this author up and discovered he is one of the most popular in the world (yes, he’s still alive) and has sold a bazillion books, records (I’ll assume CD’s) with endless sold out concerts. I really was going to throw the book away, but a buddy suggested I keep it because it was published in the 60’s and might be collectable some day. My thoughts were: dude, they printed millions of these! I certainly can’t put it on the poetry shelf. Auden and Eliot would have conniptions! There—I’ll let it rest near fantasy section—since it merely dreams of being poetry. Here is apparently a famous poem: (WARNING—this may induce thoughts violence, perhaps suicide, maybe mass murder!) “I wanted to write you some words you'd remember words so alert they'd leap from the paper and crawl up your shoulder and lie by your ears and be there to comfort you down through the years. But it was cloudy that day and I was lazy and so I stayed in bed just thinking about it. I wanted to write you and tell you that maybe love songs from lovers are unnecessary. We are what we feel and writing it down seems foolish sometimes without vocal sound. But I spent the day drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and looking in the mirror practicing my smile. I wanted to write you one last, long love song that said what I felt one final time. Not comparing your eyes and mouth to the stars but telling you only how like yourself you are. But by the time I thought of it, found a pen, put the pen to ink, the ink to paper, you were gone. And so, this song has no words.”

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sammis

    Listen to the Warm is a slim volume of poetry written by composer and singer Rod McKuen. I'm not familiar with his music but I liked the cheery cover and snatched it up from the Dublin library discard shelf. I read it almost immediately and enjoyed it thoroughly. The poems cover McKuen's life in New York, his love life over the years and his appreciation for his one true friend, his cat. The poems are often times not much more than mood pieces but they still paint vivid but brief glimpses into li Listen to the Warm is a slim volume of poetry written by composer and singer Rod McKuen. I'm not familiar with his music but I liked the cheery cover and snatched it up from the Dublin library discard shelf. I read it almost immediately and enjoyed it thoroughly. The poems cover McKuen's life in New York, his love life over the years and his appreciation for his one true friend, his cat. The poems are often times not much more than mood pieces but they still paint vivid but brief glimpses into life in New York City. It's like looking at the different layers of a cat scan and it's not until all the images are looked at in context can you piece together the person being studied. So it is with Listen to the Warm. Some of the poems McKuen used as lyrics in his songs. Since I've not heard his songs (to the best of my knowledge) I didn't have the added benefit of being able to sing along but I could still appreciate the rhythm to them. They are more lyrical than the other poems which border on being free verse.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I am, well, past 50....(picture blank and innocent look) and I have come to realize that usually when the words "coming of age" appear it's best to simply run the other way...book, movie, or TV, coming of age and I tend to move on, but, for me this was a sort of "coming of age discovery" about myself. Every body loved Rod McKuen, I was supposed to love Rod McKuen, so I got this volume and I made a discovery. I think Rod McKuen's work is.....crap. Just me and I'm sure Rod would cry all the way to t I am, well, past 50....(picture blank and innocent look) and I have come to realize that usually when the words "coming of age" appear it's best to simply run the other way...book, movie, or TV, coming of age and I tend to move on, but, for me this was a sort of "coming of age discovery" about myself. Every body loved Rod McKuen, I was supposed to love Rod McKuen, so I got this volume and I made a discovery. I think Rod McKuen's work is.....crap. Just me and I'm sure Rod would cry all the way to the bank, but I just don't like it. I sat and read this, carefully considered and decided...nope, don't likeit. In fact i almost hate it...so to you who like Mckuen, enjoy, I'm overjoyed for you. As for me I'll stick with T. S. Elliot, Robert Service and Alfred Lord Tennyson, (maybe a few others).

  14. 5 out of 5

    Em

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is one of my favorite Rod McKuen poetry books. His third poetry collection and a wonderful collection of poetry. This book contains my favorite poem "Song without Words". This was also the first poetry book of McKuens that I read back in 1985 when my father thought that I would enjoy Rod's poetry. He was not mistaken as McKuen touched my heart and continues to touch my heart today over 20 years later. Any poetry lover will truly love the words and emotion that McKuen places on the paper of h This is one of my favorite Rod McKuen poetry books. His third poetry collection and a wonderful collection of poetry. This book contains my favorite poem "Song without Words". This was also the first poetry book of McKuens that I read back in 1985 when my father thought that I would enjoy Rod's poetry. He was not mistaken as McKuen touched my heart and continues to touch my heart today over 20 years later. Any poetry lover will truly love the words and emotion that McKuen places on the paper of his book. Touches your soul and emotions in a way that brings one to life. I highly recommend this collection of poetry and have read it over and over. One that holds a place near and dear to my heart.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisamarie

    I run hot and cold on this book. It was a gift I received from a teacher when I was in the sixth grade. When I re-read it now, I'm amazed -- some of the poems are hardly appropriate for a sixth grader, even one who may seem extraordinarily bright. Still, there are poems that I can still recite from memory, passages that are forever written into my unconsciousness, interwoven with my own (difficult) life experiences. From my favorite: THIRTEEN "Listen. I don't apologize for being hard to know but ap I run hot and cold on this book. It was a gift I received from a teacher when I was in the sixth grade. When I re-read it now, I'm amazed -- some of the poems are hardly appropriate for a sixth grader, even one who may seem extraordinarily bright. Still, there are poems that I can still recite from memory, passages that are forever written into my unconsciousness, interwoven with my own (difficult) life experiences. From my favorite: THIRTEEN "Listen. I don't apologize for being hard to know but apple pies and warm hands help and I've never known a cat who couldn't calm me down by walking slowly past my chair..." In McKuen's words I find pain. Joy. Sadness. Sometimes all in the same poem.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Holly Ratcliff

    I was surprised by how much I liked this collection in comparison to Suspension Bridge. There were motions, histories, and stories expressed here that kept me engaged throughout -- overall, development that was missing in his other collection. "And so when I think of love and loving / I think of people dying alone for lack of love. / The skeletons of kites / setting off treetops and telephone lines." - "The Days of the Dancing" "I filled the seat beside me / with my coat and books. / I'm antisoci I was surprised by how much I liked this collection in comparison to Suspension Bridge. There were motions, histories, and stories expressed here that kept me engaged throughout -- overall, development that was missing in his other collection. "And so when I think of love and loving / I think of people dying alone for lack of love. / The skeletons of kites / setting off treetops and telephone lines." - "The Days of the Dancing" "I filled the seat beside me / with my coat and books. / I'm antisocial without you. / I'm antiworld and people too." - Listen to the Warm, 20

  17. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Sandi ❣

    Rod McKuen - singer, song writer, author, poet, director, concert artist - and the list goes on. Not being much into poetry, this poet, and this book in particular, puts me in a charmed placed, very mellow, reflective, and at ease, each time I read it. Gentle words, spoken to the soul, fill this book. Sensitive stories written of love and loss, renewal and death, hope and despair. A must addition to any library.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I liked this book for the most part. There were definitely some interesting moments, things that caught me by surprise, inventive uses of language. But some of the poems came across as being very self-conscious and borderline cliche.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Dils Kime-Boyer

    Rod McKuen's books have been a favorite since childhood when my Aunt bought me this book, and 3 others to add to my collection. Rod McKuen's books have been a favorite since childhood when my Aunt bought me this book, and 3 others to add to my collection.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jerome Peterson

    McKuen's poetry speaks simple truths in ways like a thrift shop speaks to me of 25 cent silverware and one dollar culture music. His poetry is extremely palpable. Recommend it! McKuen's poetry speaks simple truths in ways like a thrift shop speaks to me of 25 cent silverware and one dollar culture music. His poetry is extremely palpable. Recommend it!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tim Petersik

    It moved me in 1968 and still does. It's not high brow poetry, but your everyday person can relate to it. It moved me in 1968 and still does. It's not high brow poetry, but your everyday person can relate to it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christie

    Remember this book? It was my first BEAT generation title. I loved Rod McKuen's raspy voiced-poetry. It reminds me of rain streaming down windows. Remember this book? It was my first BEAT generation title. I loved Rod McKuen's raspy voiced-poetry. It reminds me of rain streaming down windows.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    I have read this poetry book over and over and over. I love his poetry. That's it. I have read this poetry book over and over and over. I love his poetry. That's it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    My review will be biased. My father bought me this book forty-two years ago. I was sick at the time, and he brought me a stuffed animal, a book on Gnomes, and Rod McKuen's Listen to the Warm, as a kind gesture. I read the poems with my own sentiments in mind, because I was so touched by the gifts. Some of the lines of the title poem stuck in my head forever and I found the "feel" of the book attractive; I thought Rod McKuen was cool. I lost the book at some point over the years, after moving from My review will be biased. My father bought me this book forty-two years ago. I was sick at the time, and he brought me a stuffed animal, a book on Gnomes, and Rod McKuen's Listen to the Warm, as a kind gesture. I read the poems with my own sentiments in mind, because I was so touched by the gifts. Some of the lines of the title poem stuck in my head forever and I found the "feel" of the book attractive; I thought Rod McKuen was cool. I lost the book at some point over the years, after moving from place to place, going through marriage and children and such. Every now and then I'd remember and feel a bit sad. One day, about five years ago, I was at a yard sale and I knew the minute I saw the cover what book it was. I flipped it open and there on the page was my hand writing. Oh, the feelings it stirred in me! For that reason, I love the book. Yes... biased.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    Oh, lordy. So a friend started buying me Rod McKuen books of poetry in high school; this one and one other that she gave me are autographed by him. As a teen, I loved McKuen. Hard. He was one of the first poets I read who wrote about desire and relationships in contemporary language. I mean, Donne writes about desire, but "Valediction Forbidding Mourning" did not do it for teen me. McKuen's poems felt exotic and grown up to me. I wanted to pretend I was a grown up having an affair on a beach or Oh, lordy. So a friend started buying me Rod McKuen books of poetry in high school; this one and one other that she gave me are autographed by him. As a teen, I loved McKuen. Hard. He was one of the first poets I read who wrote about desire and relationships in contemporary language. I mean, Donne writes about desire, but "Valediction Forbidding Mourning" did not do it for teen me. McKuen's poems felt exotic and grown up to me. I wanted to pretend I was a grown up having an affair on a beach or whatever. LOL Does not hold up as an adult. I find most of this pretty banal and some of it kind of offensive (his comments on sixties/seventies counterculture; spoiler alert: he is against it). I'm not getting rid of this volume because my dear friend gave it to me, and it's signed. But thus concludeth the re-reads.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paula Dembeck

    This book of poetry published in 1967 was another of Rod McKuen’s best-selling collections of poetry. It focuses on only a few themes, but they were all important to the young people who sought out his work. He was able to put into words many of the emotions and feelings they struggled with, their quest for understanding, the ups and downs of romantic relationships, their interactions with those they cared about and the nature of relationships which sustained life and made it more palatable. Nev This book of poetry published in 1967 was another of Rod McKuen’s best-selling collections of poetry. It focuses on only a few themes, but they were all important to the young people who sought out his work. He was able to put into words many of the emotions and feelings they struggled with, their quest for understanding, the ups and downs of romantic relationships, their interactions with those they cared about and the nature of relationships which sustained life and made it more palatable. Never accepted by literary critics, McKuen nevertheless sold millions of his books of poetry, entertained thousands at his concerts and was loved by his many fans.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Itch Iseatingnandos

    An incredibly beautiful edition of the masterful and prolific poet. Noone nails the subject of love quite like McKuen although everybody tries, he's in a league of his own. The final chapter of the book focuses of McKuen's lyrics which are phenomenal, deep and require repeated readings in order to get everything out of them. Highly highly highly recommended. You can see where modern Instagram poets like rupi and Atticus have been influenced, though I find their poetry trite, forced and written f An incredibly beautiful edition of the masterful and prolific poet. Noone nails the subject of love quite like McKuen although everybody tries, he's in a league of his own. The final chapter of the book focuses of McKuen's lyrics which are phenomenal, deep and require repeated readings in order to get everything out of them. Highly highly highly recommended. You can see where modern Instagram poets like rupi and Atticus have been influenced, though I find their poetry trite, forced and written for the reader. Dive in to the original master here

  28. 4 out of 5

    tekla

    I’ll just put it here - Rod McKuen is one of my favorite poets. I love the way he writes about love and friendship and nature and beauty. I love that, as he himself has stated, you don’t need to own a bunch of bookshelves full of pretentious crap in order to understand his poems. Rod McKuen is good at making me fall in love with life and my surroundings. He makes me long of San Fransisco, and cozy apartments full of cats, and other people. I wish I could tell him all of that. He changed my life I’ll just put it here - Rod McKuen is one of my favorite poets. I love the way he writes about love and friendship and nature and beauty. I love that, as he himself has stated, you don’t need to own a bunch of bookshelves full of pretentious crap in order to understand his poems. Rod McKuen is good at making me fall in love with life and my surroundings. He makes me long of San Fransisco, and cozy apartments full of cats, and other people. I wish I could tell him all of that. He changed my life when I was 16. He continues to do so every day.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ike

    Reread this book of McKuen's poetry that I gave as a gift to my wife of five months of marriage. I had underlined special lines of love, tenderness and softness that I felt would help her to understand me and my love for her in special ways. Now, just a few months short of 50 years of marriage those lines still ring truer than ever. One of those underlined was on page 92, and no I'll not tell exactly which lines. Reread this book of McKuen's poetry that I gave as a gift to my wife of five months of marriage. I had underlined special lines of love, tenderness and softness that I felt would help her to understand me and my love for her in special ways. Now, just a few months short of 50 years of marriage those lines still ring truer than ever. One of those underlined was on page 92, and no I'll not tell exactly which lines.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eden Honey

    I can't count the number of times i've read this book now but it's truly an all-time-favourite of mine. The way Rod connects his feelings to the world around him, is explored in a way that's relatable but with a genuine and fresh point of view. It's impossible for me to put it down once I start it, and I get so invested in each poem that I hardly notice time passing around me. It's pure magic and I would recommend it a million times over. I can't count the number of times i've read this book now but it's truly an all-time-favourite of mine. The way Rod connects his feelings to the world around him, is explored in a way that's relatable but with a genuine and fresh point of view. It's impossible for me to put it down once I start it, and I get so invested in each poem that I hardly notice time passing around me. It's pure magic and I would recommend it a million times over.

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