Poet Dan Langton on Cartwheels on the Sky
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Saturday, September 4, 2021

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Above is a photo of Dan Langton and a few of his old friends, taken in front of City Lights Bookstore at a "Beat reunion" in '65 or so. Langton is dead center, the one in the horn-rimmed glasses below Ferlinghetti's umbrella, smack between Ginsberg and the guy in a denim jacket. Langton calls this photo "14 Poets and Their Accountant."
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Cartwheels on the Sky Featuring Poet Dan Langton on KGUA FM Gualala

On Saturday, September 4, 2021 from 7-7:30, Cartwheels on the Sky (always the first Saturday of the month) features the poems and process of SF Poet, Professor and legend Dan Langton!

Dan Langton was a longtime Creative Writing Professor at San Francisco State University. He arrived in SF during the burgeoning beat movement, and he held a poetry gathering (he hates the word “salon”) in San Francisco in the Haight-Ashbury that was legendary, and to this day, he is loved by so many poets and renowned as an important mentor for a new generation of poets.

Daniel Langton has won national and international prizes in England, Ireland, and the United States, including the coveted Devins Award for Poetry in 1967. He has a PhD from UC Berkeley and he taught in the Creative Writing and English Departments at SF State University for 50 years. 

He will be 94 in September, and by all accounts, he is, right now, turning out some of the best work of his life. “I’m an old man in a hurry!” he shouts as he types away at his battered old Royal. Puzzling out rhyme schemes is what keeps him alive, well into his dotage. Or, as he calls it, “my anec-dotage.” 

Here is an excerpt from an open letter he wrote to the SF State faculty the day he retired at 90:

I have often felt I was living near history rather than in it.

My father was in the Irish Republican Army and had to run for his life, my wife is a German Jew and had to run for her life, I was in the squadron (but not the planes) that dropped Fat Man and Little Boy, our niece was murdered on 9/11.  

I have lived in four neighborhoods in my life, mostly by happenstance. I grew up in Harlem, moved to the Village, from there to Rive Gauche, wound up in the Haight-Ashbury. I am not the reason all four are world-famous.

As I said, I was middle-aged before I stood in front of a class. I also said I had had a variety of jobs, I didn’t say I was good at them, or happy with them.

But with teaching I came alive. There is no other way to say it. The kindness, the sweetness, I dare to say love, were there from the beginning. The writers I knew and know, but especially the ones for whom we can now put together a Complete Works. And the students who listened to me and went into teaching. With (always) my last words to them: After all, there are few ways to live an honorable life. 

And more in Dan’s words:  My father’s father and my father both published poetry in Ireland, at a time when there were few readers, let alone writers. My father gave up a rural heaven for the frightening hell of New York City, so his sons and daughters would have a chance. They took that chance. What followed for me was fifty years of teaching, seven books, friendships with poets, San Francisco — the town poets live for — and a wife I would not have met otherwise. 

Listen live from 7-7:30pm, Saturday, September 4 at 88.3, KGUA FM Gualala. Also streams live at https://kgua.org

Listen to Replay here after the show airs on KGUA FM.

Listen to Replay on Spotify here after the show airs on KGUA FM.