ROD MCKUEN, American poet and composer was born on this date (d: 2014); There’s Cavafy…and then there’s Rod McKuen. If McKuen is the Edgar Guest of our day, so what? He’s never pretended that he writes poetry; in fact he claims that poetry doesn’t even appeal to him. “You have to use a dictionary,” he complains, “People don’t understand it. It’s outdated.” What’s very much of our time, however, are such verses as “Those of us who walk in light/must help the ones in darkness up/For that’s what life is all about/and love is all there is to life.” After all, people don’t need a dictionary in order a greeting card to buy. McKuen calls himself a “stringer of words,” and that seems fair enough. But don’t infer he is insensitive to the meaning of words. As he has said, “I have had sex with men; does that make me Gay?” Nevertheless, and to his credit, he risked alienating a million readers by taking a public stand against Anita Bryant in the 70s.