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Gordon Black, Long-Time KZYX Music Host, Poet and Coast Raconteur, Dead at 88

Marta McKenzie: With great sadness let it be known that Gordon Black passed away on Thursday, March 21 in Fort Bragg. A poet, a teacher, a gentleman and a truly fine man.

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Ann Brown: Ahhhhh… Gordon Black, a fine actor musician and friend of all the arts. And what a unique voice! Just hearing him say Good Morning was a pleasure. He will be missed.

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Liz Helenchild: Thank you, Marta, for posting the sad news about our esteemed longtime local radio & theater star/poetry creator & promoter. He wore his several hats with flair. It comforts me to report that Gordon's last days of a fully packed 88 years were graced by Marta and a small group of his good friends. Quoting Jesse Colin Young: We are but a moment's sunlight fading in the grass.

David Jones: Here’s a poem Gordon sent to me awhile back. He was a strong man who kept me centered. I’m very sad.


quiet in the canyon enough

to hear the whistle in the head

afar a kerthunk and there distant surf


that said its value is what's not said

escape to football Rose Bowl interpret

both defenses are getting the best of it early


let as if life itself hang on disambiguation

or ride the perimeters of sense in nature at repose

light withdrawing from some but not all last things

— Gordon Black

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John Sakowicz: I am heartbroken to hear of the death of Gordon Black, friend, teacher, poet, public radio broadcaster, classical music connoisseur, motorcyclist and daredevil in his own boisterous, luxuriously fine, lavish, large and powerful way. 


for Gordon Black

the quiet in the canyon was enough—yea,

the noise in our heads was too much


there's something to be said for what's not said

something to be said for in nature in repose


something to be said for the Anasazi's ancient secrets

something to be said for the sun-washed waste of sands


there's something to be said for the giant cactus

waving with their hands in the sky


waving goodbye to all last things

as stars come out or hide, as thunder goes rolling by.

— John Sakowicz, March 24, 2024

* * *

In 1997 Gordon Black took a motorcycle tour of the Northern United States and Canada on his Harley. Here’s a short excerpt from his report: 

“I’m at a picnic table, assembling notes. Before me on the green are three spirited women, volleying French. I think I need to ask whether lac, as in lake, is la, or le, and I learn it’s neither; it’s lr. The merriest one has the voice of a cello, mezzo-French. An arrow to the heart! I resume writing in an awful hand with scratchouts on lined paper, she is writing on blank pages, bound, with gold stampings. I must invite them to sample the grapes of California’s fabulous Nomanapacino, introducing them to the viticulture editors of the AVA, get them on Marco McLean’s world literature radio review. But when I conclude my piece with its final, perfectly formed period, they’re gone. An ouch to remember.”

(Assembled by Mark Scaramella)


  1. Thomas Roberdeau March 28, 2024

    Gordon was a very close friend of mine for about 45 years. In these last few years we spent a lot of time together, and in the intense last weeks of his life. What is personal to me remains so, but I am happy to see the wide and varied connections he made while teaching, while on the radio, and being a poetry event organizer. Such a great number people in Gordon’s world have emerged, signalling that he touched so many lives. This is heartening and reflects a life of such rare beauty and grace.

  2. Maria Szonert-Binienda April 2, 2024

    Such a great loss for humanity!
    A terrible loss for American Polonia!
    Rest in Peace our Dearest Friend.
    You are in our hearts forever!

  3. Gordon H Brown /Farmer April 9, 2024

    I enjoy waking up on Friday to hear what Gordon
    Going to play he got me interested in classical music. I was listening to the radio on Friday going to the coast to the farmers market and to sell veggies and he played this album and he got me hooked.
    The Brandenburg Concertos The Orchestral Suites
    Suite No 3 in D Major BWV 1068 Ouverture/AIr
    All I have to say now is that I play it all the time

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