Best Non-Beat Poet - 2008
George Tsongas has been writing poems, plays, and novels since he arrived in San Francisco in 1945. The 81-year-old poet is a regular at Caffe Trieste. In fact, the bard doesn't own a phone, so leaving a message with the baristas is the best way to reach him. At the cafe, he gives away poems printed on single sheets of colored paper, rails against the state, and criticizes better-known Beat poets like Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Jack Hirschman (who are also regulars at the Trieste) for being a little too full of themselves. Tsongas, who is an older cousin of former presidential candidate Paul Tsongas, still writes regularly every morning in a small North Beach studio and has a new book coming out this summer.