home a safe place to land
      ask Rod


 Hi Gang.

Bet you were beginning to wonder if I’d ever get around to posting this first batch of answers to your letters. Did I say letters, avalanche is a little more like it. I haven’t counted the number of E-mails to Ask Rod, but it’s got to be in the high hundreds. Wonderful letters, troubled ones. Funny, warm, hard to answer messages and best of all words of encouragement and caring and "glad to see you’re back." There was a punch or two thrown, but that’s to be expected. I haven’t gotten anything too mean or awful and no flames that couldn’t be put out. Besides, I’m a big boy and I can take it.

Thanks to all of you for an education in E-mail, a wet eyed moment or two, some good hearty laughs, interesting and tough questions and for being so patient waiting for my answers to your very important [to me] letters. I’ve read and am reading every one, more than once, in hopes of giving you the best answers possible. If your letter isn’t in this batch, hang in there. I’ll get to it. You can count on it. Deep apologies to Webmaster Ken Blackie who has had to take most of the abuse for my tardiness, while struggling with server problems, new pages and projects we’re into involving A Safe Place To Land & an even more complicated site just taking shape, The Stanyan House. All this while trying to balance family, career, health and the more important business of having a life away from the World Wide Web.

Here we go.


Q: Will you keep the site updated to let us know all that is new? I love the site’s clean simple lines. Robbie, from Texas.

A: You bet. Starting right now there will be something new on A SAFE PLACE TO LAND nearly everyday. Not only will the newest feature, Flight Plan, be updated daily, we’ll be adding color shots of all the records and books [probably descriptions and liner notes as well] in the discography and bibliography sections. And there is about to be a new section called Resources; more about that below. Once I get the hang of this thing, I’m sure I can keep that promise of posting the answers to your questions on a more frequent basis, though weekly still seems optimistic, considering it has taken a month to post this first batch. As for the clean and beautiful design of ASPTL all that credit goes to Lucid Vision and a very talented lady named Agnieszka Solomon. Obviously I’m a bit prejudiced, but I’m absolutely thrilled with "Aggie’s" concept and design of ASPTL. She’s the best and we’re lucky to have her.


One of the most asked questions still seems to be whether or not I’m planning any readings, concert tours, performances or lectures of any kind. This question was asked by among others; Fred in NY, Jene in Las Vegas, Santy in Florida, Paul in Birmingham England, Jacqueline in Paris, CDM in Boston, Randi, Terri, Ellie.

A: The short answer is nothing is planned as of now, but I hope to be in front of an audience in about a year. Would like to get the book published & a new CD out first. The pipes still work & within a month or so I’ll go back in training [vocal & physical] to start bringing myself up to speed. Meanwhile there is the small matter of finding myself an agent or a concert booker; or one finding me.

Q: Is there any chance you'd ever be in the eastern part of the country, say like Cleveland, Ohio? My hometown Randi MacWilliams.

A: You can bet if I do tour I wouldn’t leave out Ohio. Don’t think I’ve missed playing any major city, college or university in your state. I even wrote a poem about Upper & Lower Sandusky.

Q: During my tenure as chairman of the concert committee at Jacksonville State University , Jacksonville , Alabama in 1973, you came to the university for a reading of your works. I have not seen you since. I am very interested in learning about your availability for an appearance before a small group as part of a very special occasion in Alabama. Please respond. Respectfully, Dean Buttram.

A: Lets work on it, Dean.

Q: So glad to hear about your web site. Have always been a fan. Have read them all. Have been to see you in concert many places and times, with the most memorable being in Carnegie Hall. I am now in Texas and if you should ever get this way would like to know about it. Thanks for all the good words over all the years. Robbie.

A: It’s a date Robbie.


Q: Where do I get McKuen books. Recently lost mine in a divorce. Miss them. They have been impossible to find. Thanks, Randy Snyder.

A: Sorry about the split up of you, your wife, Randy. If she got the books hope you got the house and cat. We are planning to do something kind of unusual here soon. You’ll be able to download the complete British edition of one of my books from this Site. No charge, no strings. Won’t tell you which one now, got to keep a few surprises going. Just a way of saying thanks to all of you for helping to make ASPTL [a month old as I write this] a success. Meanwhile, best source for books is used bookstores until A Safe Place To Land is published.
Thanks to host tara and the industry of Johan Grobbelaar & Jay Hagan, clicking here www.cyberhost4.com/vitalinf/rmitems2.html   will give you a list of sources for books and recordings.


Q. My question is simply this...how did you get started writing poetry...I mean was it something you ALWAYS did from the time you were a child? I guess I should read your bibliography. I hope I don't sound too childish...I am not a child...I'm in my thirties. Connie

A: Thirties? I’ve got shorts older than that, Connie. My step-grandfather taught me to read early on when I stayed with him a couple of years in Alamo Nevada. We used to peal the wallpaper off in my bedroom because underneath it the walls were covered with newspaper to keep out the cold.

My grandmother kept wondering why I had so many pictures on the wall, of course it was to cover up the spots without wallpaper. Seems as far back as I can remember it was drilled into me that if you can read, you should write I started keeping diaries years ago and still do and that led to my becoming a writer.

Q: I have stumbled upon your work many times throughout the years, usually while browsing in my mother’s basement library. (She has always been a big fan of yours.) I would like to thank you for all of the times that your words have moved me and nourished my soul. My question for you is this; Do you have any suggestions for a young, unpublished poet on the subject of finding a willing literary agent or publishing house? Two years ago, I began transferring all of my work, from various notebooks and scraps of paper, onto floppy disk, with the somewhat na´ve assumption that getting published would be relatively simple. I have on my hands now several double spaced, pre publication copies of a 315-page compilation (contemporary verse and lyric poetry) that spans roughly five years of my work. My dream is to have this monster published in its entirety, and to see some kind of return for my efforts. Is this, in your opinion, at all possible? I am a man of very limited means (What's this? An unpublished writer with no money? Why, that's unheard of!), so self-publication is not really an option. Any suggestions or contacts that you could provide would be enormously appreciated. Thank you for your time, and thank you for the inspiration. Sincerely, Tas

A: This is the most frequent question any author gets asked and, of course, the most difficult one to answer. Start saving your money. I don’t know of a single agent or publishing house that would take on an unpublished poet. Self-publishing is just about the only realistic solution. You will be in good company, Walt Whitman paid for and published "Leaves of Grass" himself. A friend put up the money to publish my first book, "And Autumn Came". My brother and I pooled our resources to publish "Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows"; of course once we had sold 30.000 copies from our basement every publisher came knocking on the door. Still, I had an added advantage, I had a record contract & used to advertise the books on the back of my album covers & Glenn Yarbrough and Jimmie Rodgers, among others had recorded some of my poems and many of my songs, and I began to have an audience for them. There are other routes. The Writers Market publishes a yearly book, which includes the names of magazines, newspapers and periodicals that publish poetry. Writer’s Digest maintains an ongoing list of places for submission, which includes contests and grants. Beware, however, of some of the anthologies that want you to pay a fee to be read or published. Don’t do it. You might as well self publish and have the books in your garage as in their storehouses. The Web is becoming more and more a place to have your work noticed. Both Ice Wine and tara publish their poems on the web and often works of other aspiring poets. I can’t tell you how and where to get your poems published, but I can give you what I consider the most valuable advice. Write. Write every day. Buy the monthly writers and poets magazines and submit your poems to the contacts they mention or don’t buy them, copy the addresses from your local library’s magazine rack. You’ll get plenty of rejection slips, but so what? I did too, enough to paper a bathroom with.. Write. Persist. Write. A close friend of mine’s just paid to have his fathers first book published. His dad by the way is in his 70’s and where did Charlie turn to advertise it? The Web. Will it sell? Who knows? The point is his son got off his butt and decided to do something about making his father’s life long wish of having a book published come true. Life, children, whatever got in the way or was used as an excuse for his father not to pursue his dream when he was a younger man. Don’t let that happen to you. Dream BIG, go after it now. Gotta say I think 315 pages is a little too big to dream.. You’re not Whitman, Elliott, or Lowell yet. . . you might be one day, but who could afford the cost of a book that size by an unknown poet, never mind the stamina to carry it to the park to read? If you want to be a success, tas and you have the talent and drive it takes, you will be; but you have to put that success in motion yourself.. The best of luck, go for it..

Q: Rod: All bullshit aside, I used to think your work was just "pedestrian" – not very brave. Now I think it is sloppy and in desperate need of editing. What's up? It is a very dangerous thing to fall in love with your words. You can do better. Regards, John Gurney

A: John: All bullshit aside, you are right if you think you’re right.

Q: Like the rest of the world, I have enjoyed your work for years. Also, I just finished reading an interview with you from 1984, published in On Being A Writer. I think it should be required reading for all aspiring writers. My question is: Did you get many (any?) rejection slips when you were starting out? If so, how did you deal with rejection, & what advice would you give other hopeful writers? Thank You & Welcome Back!!!!! Gene

A: The interview you mentioned from "On Being A Writer" is being posted on this site under "Resources". It was conducted by Rose Adkins a very fine writer herself and in demand at writing seminars all over the country. How does anybody deal with rejection, you just do it. As I told Tas, I got enough ‘thanks but no thanks’ slips to paper a john. You want to hear about rejection, I was up for two different voice over jobs that called for "A Rod McKuen type" of voice. I lost both to people who obviously sounded more like Rod McKuen than I do. Now that’s rejection. You laugh and go on. It’s not personal, it’s just the way it is sometimes. All writers, performers. . .lovers, human beings face rejection. Did you date the most beautiful girl in school and take her to the prom? Good for you if you did, most of us had to set our sights a bit lower.. [Besides she’s bitter & unhappy now and after 3 bad marriages is back living with her folks.] Everyone’s a critic, that’s easy if you never have to do the job yourself. Write. Keep writing. If you want to be successful, you will be. Sounds simple.. It isn’t.. But it works. Microsoft Word just rejected my last three sentences as being to short and fragmentary, but I think they make their point. For years I actually believed that if somebody else thought something was wrong with me, something was wrong with me. That isn’t always true, you know. I wish I could put across that very important lesson in life and living and maybe one day I will. I only recently got it through my own head so I’ll have to think on it awhile. Most of us beat up on ourselves too much. Why? There are plenty of bullies out there ready to do it for us.


Q. I was beginning to think the absolute worst. I finally decided toupdate my vinyl collection after all of these years with CD’s. They were very hard to find. Not only that I could not find your books, and of course nothing recent. When or can we expect to see anything new? Of course the old things are still my mainstays. I last saw you inconcert what seems like a hundred years ago. Actually it was in Dallas1974. I think that was the year. What a real joy. Are you or will youstill do any concerts? You have been gone far to long. Everybody needs a little Rod McKuen in their life from time to time to keep life on an even keel. It is so good to know that you are still alive and kicking. As always a great fan, Jene in the city of all delights, Las Vegas Nevada.

A: The concerts will come. Before long there will be another installment of A Safe Place To Land on the site and you’ll begin to see it take shape.. On that score, remember you’re getting the unedited poems and in no particular order.

Q: Please, convey to Rod my delightful memories of him reading his poetry at Lake Buena Vista in Florida.( They now call the place Disney Village) My son was a teenager then and we cherish the memory of the night Rod read his poetry beside the lake. I so wish he would return. is he planning any trips to Florida to read? Santy13

A: Remember that evening really well in fact I think I have a tape of it. A beautiful, balmy summer night, great crowd, all outdoors in the Lake Buena Vista Plaza. I stayed overnight in fact and was allowed to put on the Pluto costume the next day and play with kids at Disney World. I’m sure I’ll be back in Florida one day with or without my Pluto mask.



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Q: I am British, married, 34 year old who discovered your work 10 years ago when I saw a copy of the Carnegie Hall album in someone’s collection, read the liner notes and thought this is someone I could relate to. Some sixty albums and ten books later you still inspire, comfort and entertain me.( That’s my credentials over with!). I Would really love to have seen you in concert. My Question is two fold. Why did you stop doing concerts, albums and publications and do you have any intentions taking up any of these activities. Perhaps small intimate gigs. Anyway Best wishes and congratulations on the Website. Paul, Birmingham, England.

A: It isn’t fair. I keep getting older while my audience grows younger. I like small venues [though what a thrill to have played Royal Albert Hall, The Palladium & The Rainbow Theatre in London.] Birmingham has a great concert hall and the extraordinary City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. I first played there in May of 1971. But one of the reasons I used to stay after concerts & do rap sessions with the house lights up is because it always seemed more intimate sitting on the edge of the stage and seeing people’s faces. If it becomes economically possible to travel with my trio and play small houses I’ll jump at the chance. One of the problems with reading only poetry is that there is always that segment of the audience who expect you to sing. The best possible tour would be a reading one night and a concert the next. As to why I quit; I needed a breather and now that I’ve caught my breath.. . . I have a feeling England will be one of my first stops when I get up and running again. There are no better audiences anywhere and I have lots of friends in Great Britain that I made during many tours, film scoring, recording and TV work. Twice I was in your country long enough to take a flat and most of the recordings I made through the late 60’s to the early 80’s [many still unreleased] were done in and around London.

Q: When is the complete Carnegie Hall Concert coming out on CD? Roy, San Francisco.

A: Ken Blackie had a great idea. Next year will be the 30th Anniversary of the First Carnegie Birthday concert & he thinks we should release the complete concert even adding the songs left off the double LP set. Sounds good to me.

Q: I was so happy to get the news that you are alive and well and that you have your own website! Happy Birthday. I have your record "Rod McKuen Live at Carnegie Hall" which I received as a gift on my 21st. birthday twenty-seven years ago. It has survived 10 or so moves and 3 marriages. A few weeks ago I decided to copy it on tape so that it would last even longer. Believe it or not, only one band was somewhat scratchy and skipped. That was when I started thinking about you again and wondered "whatever happened...? I typed in your name on my search engine and came up with several pages devoted to you. I saw you perform in Florida in 1971 or '72 and the show was magnificent. I especially liked it when you sat on stage at the end and chatted with the audience. I have several of your books and am re-reading them now. My husband is French and likes Jacques Brel so when I played your record he could really relate to you. He was not familiar with your music or poetry; so now you have a new fan. I am also introducing the "younger generation" to your works. I teach English to a class of Middle and High School students at a private school. I used one of your poems to help a young man cope with rejection from a girl in the class. Anyway, I'm so glad you are taking advantage of the new technology to keep your works alive with us "old-timers" as well as creating a new audience for your messages that will never grow old. Sincerely, Sarah Spring Hill, FL

A: What a thoughtful letter. Us ‘old timers’ aren’t as old as they think we are, except in knowledge thanks to teachers like you. More about Jacques Brel coming up.


Q: In the early 70's I read a poem you wrote about fingerprints. I have never forgotten it. Would love to read it again! I believe it was about a relationship gone bad and you had to deal with all of the fingerprints left behind as a reminder of your lover's absence. Barbara M. Fremont, Ohio

A: This one stumps me for the moment Barbara, but I’ll work on it. Sounds to me like is a question for tara’s Rod McKuen Message board, Bet Jay, Johan, Brad or tara herself would know where to find it. And, speaking of tara . . .

Q: Are you a vegetarian, Rod, and what are your cats names? tara.

A: Almost a vegetarian. For instance lunch today was fresh corn & a tossed salad. Dinner tonight will be a baked potato with lemon, cottage cheese and chives. (probably with a side order of answering more mail.) Eat chicken or fish once a week and so far haven’t been able to kick my addiction to buttermilk.. Current cats are Rocky a Persian, who looks like a boxer but is a total cream puff., Dinah, a fat, white Himalayan (affectionately named after Dinah Shore) who is a bit crazy and chases shadows on the wall, and, Kubby Kat Too, an American Shorthair (alley cat) who was hand reared shortly after his mother abandoned him. They make life not only bearable, but possible. Don’t know how many folks know about your concern for the welfare of animals.. But on behalf on animal lovers everywhere, tara, thanks for your champion assistance.

PLEASE COME TO BOSTON Q: Thank you for the years of wonderful music and words that always have such insight. Will you ever do a reading or concert in the Boston area? Please say yes . CDM

A: The answer is definitely yes. I have lover in laws all over Mass.

Q: Having been one of your biggest fans for all these many years and having wooed many a lass with your prose, I long to see you perform again as I did in L.A in the 70's. I know the voice has been spent but just to hear you read one more time would be heaven. I have every book you've ever published, some first editions. I still look for a new book every time I go to Barnes & Noble. Bob Ryan.

A: The question we’ll soon know the answer to is whether Mr. Barnes & Mr. Noble share your enthusiasm. Thanks Bob, and the voice isn’t that spent. It’s always been ‘lived in", just lived in a little more these days.


A not very timely answer to two letters from Sjt Grigs that helped start a new section on ASPTL

Q: I have to write a five-page paper on a poet for my Poetry class. Since your writing had such an impact on my life when I was young, I chose you to write about. Is there anything about your life you would like to have said in my paper? Actually, since it is due next Tuesday (19th), I may get your answer too late. But I thought I'd ask anyway. I searched the Internet previously for information regarding you, but this is the first time your new website came up. The others seemed to be people wondering what happened to you and hoping you'd surface again soon. I wonder if you really know how many lives you've touched with your words. You gave me and my love a connection that sustained us over 30 years until we finally got back together in September. So, even if I don't hear back from you, thank you.

Q: I'm sorry, I think I was pretty naive. I guess I just didn't realize the Scope of your popularity (which is kind of ironic, since I asked you if you did!). After I sent my first e-mail, I found some of the other websites and, my God, are those people fans! They are definitely into your life! I couldn't quite follow the whole thing, but it appeared someone else had asked for info for a paper and the whole thing caused quite an argument among your fans. I think I came up with enough for my paper from some other sources. I kind of doubt you will actually ever read this, but if you do, thanks for all your beautiful poetry. You wrote one called "Child" which led a skinny little girl to lots of passion. All these years later, it still makes me smile when I read it. Oh, to feel like that again . . .So, thanks, I've got an "A" in the class anyway. I'll just add another of your poems to make my paper 5 pages! Sjt Grigs.

A: Thanks for all the nice thoughts & I wish I’d been able to get the info you requested to you on time. I get quite a few requests every year from students and adults who are doing papers, book reports etc. & I've wrestled with a way of handling it. Something more say, then sending out a mimeographed biography. Sorry this comes to late to affect your paper, but your letters did help me figure out a way to handle this situation in a timely manor in the future. Any day now a brand new section called Resources will make its debut on ASPTL. It contains articles; concert & book reviews and other material that should help anyone looking for information get what they need. It will be ongoing and updated frequently. If some of my readers and listeners are ‘into’ my life, well that’s probably only fair. As you can see by many of these late in getting answered letters, they certainly let me into theirs.

Q: I have problems understanding the October 7 poem? if you get around to it maybe you could help, thanks, I chose to research you for my English paper -me, BeeBee

A: Once we can get some research & typing help we’ll be adding a complete list of all my poems and songs, plus an index to first lines to Resources. This will make finding a poem entitled October 7 a lot easier, since in lieu of titles many of my poems are simply dated or numbered. Sorry this feature doesn’t come in time to help you BeeBee


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Q: Is it possible to re-cycle your old calendars with current dates. I long for the old days when the calendars were available. I have missed you! I have been searching for you, but have little luck. I heard your voice over on a laundry commercial. I hope you never go underground again. Theryan

Q: Oh boy I feel like MY friend is back. Your writings have helped me when I was down. My question is, do you still put out the calendar with proceeds going to help animals, I haven’t seen one for a long time. Good to hear about you again. God bless you. Charlotte

A: Had so much fun putting the calendars & Book of Days together every year that I thought it might be a good permanent feature for ASPTL. So check under FLIGHT PLAN everyday for some of the old maxims plus lots of new things. The Book of Days & A Month of Sundays can also be found by pressing one of our links. As for the calendars, the new STANYAN HOUSE Web-Site will be up and running before long & we plan to use some of the more outrageous calendar stuff there.. More about that in Ken’s next interview with me.












Q: What a joy to see you again! I feel as though I just ran into an old friend. I've bookmarked your site and plan to spend the next several days visiting it.. One of my personal favorites of your work is "Home to the Sea". I played the album until it wore out. Now I'm looking for a CD. Is there one available or will there be in the future? Blessings, Janice Kempf. Similar letters from Lee Smith in TN, Kenneth Parady, Grande Rapids, Dave in New Jersey, R.G. Zdanovec, Teach22, Elaine in Charlottesville, Kathy Brock and Sherry

A: I’d love to see all The San Sebastian Strings albums out on CD, so would Anita. I’ll bet we could fit The Sea, The Earth & The Sky + as a bonus both Home To The Sea & The Soft Sea on a 3 CD set. I promise you, if Warner Bros. Records doesn’t get off their duff & make plans to release them by the start of the year we will..

Q: I would like to thank you for all the pleasure your work has given me over the years. You might like to know that I work for the county library system, and your works check out pretty regularly. Is "The Sea", your wonderful collaboration with Anita Kerr, available on cassette or CD anywhere? My vinyl version, unfortunately, is damaged beyond use and I no longer have a working turntable. Carol, N.C.

A: The Sea was issued on CD as was the French version La Mer, with 20 minutes of added sea sounds. They are both currently out of print, but can often be located through sources cited above.. Tara & her team of Jay Hagan & Johan Grobbelaar have put together not only a list of collectibles, but also a list of mail order sources for old & new CD’s & LPs & books. It’s the best place I know of to start looking & it can be accessed by clicking on tara’s Rod McKuen Message Board in our ‘links’ section. Though technically out of print, more than one person has been able to track down CD’s of The Sea & La Mer through Johan's sources list. I still collect records & I often run into my older LP’s in used record stores. Used bookstores are a good place to hunt for books.

Q: I do have a CD of "THE SEA". If one could wear out a CD, this one would Have become useless - long ago. I must say BRAVO! to Anita Kerr for her work with you. Wonderful. Yesterday - is not soon enough for releases of CD's of your work!!!! New or "old" Please. Lord above, I'm 53, and sound like a teenager (here). HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROD! May life be good to you. May you experience the joy you create for - and give to - others. Mary McComb

A: I can’t say enough about Anita Kerr. The San Sebastian Strings albums were a total collaboration in every way. Anita composed all the music, did the arrangements and led the orchestra. I wrote the story line and the words.. Anita was a pioneer in the record industry. In Nashville she arranged recordings for all the top country artists and she formed at least 3 different sets of personnel for the multi Grammy award winning Anita Kerr Singers; without, I might add, ever loosing the original sound of the group. In the religious community she is known for a string of stirring instrumental and vocal albums. I’d cross the desert to record with her again. Female recording artists have always been a staple of the record business, but Anita was that rare person as important behind the scenes as out in front. And, she was a woman respected by all her peers. Alas for the cause of women in music in general, most of her peers were men. Still there is some hope, a year ago a woman, Rachael Portman, was nominated for an Academy Award for best film score and won.

Q: I would like to know if "The Earth" is or will be available on CD? I have a copy on vinyl, which I bought years ago, when it first appeared in record stores, and I was living in California .It plays, But it is not in great shape (I played it to death). I can only find "The Sea" & "The Sky" on CD in stores and I'm not even sure if they are available anymore. Why those two & not "The Earth"? I NEED IT ! Fondest Regards, Dave In NJ.

A: Wow you found THE SKY on CD. Wonder if it’s a pirate or if WB Records is holding out on me. THE EARTH will be out one way or the other, see above. A track from it, "Capri In July" is available on McKUEN: Speaking Of Love [LaserLight CD #12 442].

Q: Thanks for the web site. A beginning of many memories for me. My question: On the back of either The Sky, The Earth, or the Sea, you refer to someone famous who narrated it. Over the years I have not been able to figure it out. Can you let me/us know who it was? Bgrebow.

A: Thanks for asking. Ken Blackie is doing another interview with me & I’ll be telling the story of who, how & why there are four different narrators on The San Sebastian Strings albums. It should be posted next month.

Q: One of my greatest experiences was meeting you Nov 13, 1981 at the old Liberty House Department store for a book signing. I have four signed books of yours that I sincerely treasure. One of my all time favorites is your trilogy The Earth, The Sea, The Sky. Will you sometime soon have all three on a CD release instead of just The Sea. I truly hope someday that we all can have a gathering in SF to meet you once again. I also hope you will start publishing again of all those words you have been probably writing for the last decade since you have published. Your caring fan, George, Oakland, California. Similar letters from, Mik, Paul, Judy, HDM. Alana

A: Thanks for the memories George. Want to say it again, we’ll get The Trilogy out one way or another, you can bet on it.. I expect A Safe Place To Land to be published next fall. To conclude this section, a letter that needs no comment but one that will get a rare personal answer.



Q: Have you heard of the poet Mary Seaward...also known as The White Swan..a poet from the 1700's. I believe she traveled to America in the 1720's. I can't seem to find any info on her. Unsigned

A: You might be referring to Anna Seward [1747-1809] known as "The Swan of Lichfield" She wrote romantic poetry and one of her more famous works was entitled "Elegy on Capt. Cook". I found a reference to her in Chambers Biographical Dictionary, page 1210.


From time to time I’ll be sharing some letters with you that don’t have questions but certainly please me a lot. Hope it doesn’t seem like too much of an ego trip, but if things get too mushy or sentimental you can always go to the next Q&A section.

One damp rainy night a very long time ago (around 1975?) I was walking the city streets of Leeds, looking for the Odeon movie theater. But I didn't make it that far. I came across an old theater with its welcoming double doors wide open and no one around but the lady in the ticket booth. The show had started and I heard you for the first time singing on the stage enjoying the best concert in my life, and certainly the most influential. I watched your show, I read your poetry, and then I bought your records. I don't think it helped me much - except that I learned how to cry. Thank you Rod. Bill Shea


Q: 1. Is there any way I can get copies of all or even some of the Issues of Stanyan News? Mine were destroyed by water. 2. How is, where is, and what is Wade Alexander doing? Best to you and Edward. SANDRA G.

A: The new Stanyan House site will go up soon and we hope to have copies of all or some of The Stanyan News that can be downloaded.

As many of you know Wade Alexander was not only president of Stanyan Records but was The Editor of Stanyan News. As to the where and what of him now; he completed his flying lessons, emerged rather unscathed by that messy divorce that made all the papers and is now the head of a multi-national corporation that among other things distributes The Festival of Light grants. He flies his own Lear, most of us wish he didn’t.


Having completed rehab for the second time, Wade wishes he hadn’t gone in the first place.


His fortune crumbling after the demise of the Minnie Pearl Chicken House Franchises he took what money was left & invested it in Microsoft at $1.75 a share, bought a ranch in Montana next to Ted & Jane and is living happily ever after. His autobiography," Howdy Partner" will be released shortly by Random House.


Having had his fill of Show Biz with McKuen & Co. he retired to a Benedictine Monastery and when contacted by me concerning this question said "You tell em’ where I am, you Bastard, & I’ll kill you." I’m reasonably sure that was just a metaphor for ‘no comment.’

One or more of the above is probably true, according to a spokesperson for Mr. Alexander.


Q: I have always loved the LP of Lonesome Cities, but when I bought the CD, it seems like the songs are alternate takes than those on the LP. Is this the case, or were they remastered to sound different? Jack G.

A: My goof Jack & a big one. Made the mistake of sending the rough session master drawn directly from the London sessions out to be digitally transferred instead of the remastered tapes that were completed in USA. Will get around to redoing the CD one of these days, soon I hope. Then if there are any of the alternate takes that are especially good I’ll include them too. Johan G. had a great idea. He thinks I should include NIGHT from "The City" when I redo "Lonesome Cities.








Q: Thank you for the poetry and especially for the album "Through European Windows"! Through the emotionally charged years of college, it was the only thing my father and I BOTH loved!! I bought that album in 1971 and he now has the very scratched remains of it. He lives in Florida and often asks me if I have found another copy for him that we could tape -- Is it available anywhere?? It is a beautiful album that we have enjoyed for many years! Thank you and best wishes! Jane Shooer

A: Through European Windows is one of my favorite albums from my RCA Victor days and hasn’t been released on CD.. I bought back the masters to my entire RCA product [including 20 tracks that were never released]. Found lots of things I’d forgotten about including duets with Glenn Yarbrough and a session with Hank Mancini. When I find a safe place to land as far as recording goes I plan to issue that entire product, including unissued tracks, in a boxed set called "The RCA Years". Who know it may even be at Victor.

Q: A friend said she saw you & Phyllis Diller on a barge in The South of France last summer. Is it true?

A: Yep. Had a great time. We toured the canals of Burgundy on a slow barge. Drank too much and ate too much but it was bliss. I’ve known Phyllis for over 40 years and this was our first vacation together. She’s about to turn 81, is funnier and sweeter than ever and still tours with her very sharp act year round.

Q: Dear Rod: Your singing voice, not so much like brillo, but a friend on a cold, winter’s night. Best to you and may you live long and enjoy in proportion to the pleasure you have given. Larry, Saratoga Springs NY.

A: Thanks Larry, that’s a compliment –I think.

That’s about it for this time. More next week.
Thanks again for your patience and sleep warm
home    ask Rod