A Tribute to our Alpha Wolf

Posted: March 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

I recently lost a friend, after helping him get his poetry published in a book. We never met in person, but the loss of him is no less devastating. I could go on for pages, trying to find the words to express all that Dan meant to me, and to every single member of our writing group. Seeing a photo of some forty-odd loved ones gathered around Dan’s hospital bed to perform a goodbye ritual was more moving than you can imagine. He died knowing he was loved and that his words would live on in his published book and in the hearts of loved ones around the world.

Writers, Poets and Deviants published the following tribute to Daniel E Tanzo on their page, and I thought I’d share it here.

Dan was one of the original creators of WPaD, which was formed in 2011 by several like-minded writers who met in another writing group. The group was originally named the Wolf Pack After Dark, and Dan was the ‘Alpha Wolf’ of our pack, so to speak. In the past three years, WPaD has evolved, undergone a name change and seen members come and go. One constant was Dan. He was our anchor, our enforcer when conflicts arose, and a mentor to all. Dan was so many things; he was crass and bold and foul-mouthed, with a wonderfully sick sense of humor. This same man composed some of the most astonishing romantic poetry we have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Raised in Antioch, California, Daniel E. Tanzo was a US Army veteran and former construction company owner and laborer. A self-proclaimed poet/warrior, he began his exploration to his path in 1998. Always an avid reader and lover of words, he was introduced to Rumi, Hafiz, Cohelo and Borges, igniting his own poetry. He has spoken in front of various audiences, including the San Francisco World Conference on the Enneagram. He studied alchemy through the written word at a Bay area based mystery school. A new and recent yoga student, he continued to write poetry and pursue his spiritual path while being caregiver to his mother after her debilitating stroke. After losing his mother to cancer, he was himself diagnosed with cancer shortly afterward. Dan lost his battle with cancer March 27, 2014. We will always miss him, but his poetry will live forever. Dan’s poetry has been published in several WPaD anthologies, as well as a book of his own, entitled, Silk She Is.

“I was raised to be a “Man” by a father, uncles and various male role models, coaches etc. This meant, in my particular Bay Area industrial town, don’t crynever back down from a fight, and all the rest of those peculiar aspects that were passed on and down to us young males. I thoroughly embraced these as biblical writ: I was in the armed forces, where of course this was further enhanced, and became a bouncer at a local watering hole. I have pulled my own tooth and even stitched myself up with an actual needle and thread. So I guess I qualify as to these male standards.”
Daniel E. Tanzo ~

One of Dan’s final wishes was to see his poetry published in a book before he died, so we made it happen. The proof copy was sent to a friend of his, who brought it to him in the hospital. He was shocked, delighted and overwhelmed to see the book and hold it in his hands. The title, Silk She Is, was chosen by Dan, but the namesake poem for the book is missing. Dan tried to retrieve it from his files because he wanted very much for it to be included in the book, but sadly, we ran out of time. The cover design is based on the image he described, and when he saw it, he said it was “perfect”.

During the toughest battle of his life, Dan fought like a bear, never backing down for a minute. He will forever be loved and missed by friends worldwide. His book is his legacy. Dan asked that the proceeds be donated to cancer research, and so it shall be.

‘Grizz’ is now free to roam the afterlife, expressing his poetic wisdom amongst the stars.



Godspeed, Dan.
Until we meet again.
In Love and Light,
The Wolf Pack
Writers, Poets and Deviants
  1. zolliespot says:

    Thanks for posting this! Will definitely order the book. Anything I can do to help cancer research!

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