Prior to publication "Misanthropos" was performed by Alan Dobie and Julian Glover for the BBC (Third Programme, March 8, 1965). Following the performance, an audience research report was compiled, which indicated equally mixed reactions. Participants praised the poem as "thought-provoking" and "of great relevance to the human condition," while others found the poem to be "an irritating mixture of the mystical and mundane," with a "very complex meaning."
Gunn reflects on the publication of Touch, describing the collection of poems as a "mix-up of a book" and "experimental." Specifically he writes that "Misanthropos" may be "pompous in its conception." Gunn also identifies his writing as "still very English," despite his having spent close to ten years in the United States.