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Writers Friendship, Lucy Day and friends: Prof./Poet Dan Langton
bibliomaniac
"...fierce, new-minted and convincing... he has a voice and a range." --NY Times Book Review on Kissing the Dancer.
Amazon.com Amazon.com
Powell's Books Powell's Books

And, finally, a poem by Dan Langton, another in our Writers' Friendship Oakland, CA, "salon" event. [Please see 2 preceeding blog entries] Dan's a much-respected English prof at San Francisco State University and one of Lucy's mentors. He's one of those rare people, rare poets, who doesn't mess with the computer and publishing (by choice, it seems) relatively little of his work. Because he has no e-mail account, he sends his poem "October Eighth" hardcopy. I'm just back from Santa Cruz' Museum of Art & History (MAH) where the current exhibit, "The Art of Papermaking in Santa Cruz," includes samples of the machinery associated with writing, including 1950s style typewriters... so when Dan's "October Eighth" sonnet arrives, neatly typed, double-spaced, it's like looking at a manuscript from the past:

 OCTOBER EIGHTH

I noticed the leaves today, I have been sick

and losing touch, but there they surely were,

falling from crowded trees, playing at sur-

vival, trying to make my brain as thick

as their gatherings, their wrinkled ends, their May,

lying like truthful books the winners burn,

told in a language I will never learn.

My brother has been dead a year today.

 

I think of all the poems that used the Fall

to euphemize a death, but Jimmy died

this blazing time of year, and all the kinds

of metaphor won't reach the boy I call

and mourn and hunger for, the boy who tried

too well. They are just leaves. Life teaches, art reminds.

---

Dan Langton's work has appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic, The Iowa Review, the Paris Review, The Nation, the TLS and similar journals. His QUERENCIA won the Devins Award for Poetry. Dan lives and teaches in San Francisco (SFSU).