Richard Elden Dankleff was a faculty member in the Oregon State University English Department from 1963 until his retirement in 1987. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he wrote poetry and led a poetry workshop in the Corvallis community. He continued to mentor other writers of poetry after his retirement. Dankleff's poetry was published as individual pieces as well as in three collections. Popcorn Girl (1979) and Westerns (1984) were published by the Oregon State University Press; Off Watch was published by Oregon Sunrise Press in 2001.
Dankleff attended the University of Nebraska before serving in World War II. After the war, he completed a BS at Columbia University in 1949. Dankleff earned an MA from the University of Nebraska in 1954 and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1959. He died in Corvallis in 2010.
The Richard Dankleff Sound Recording consists of readings by Dankleff of his own poems as well as selections by William Butler Yeats and William Shakespeare. The recording is about 60 minutes in length and includes 48 poems. Dankleff begins with Shakespeare and several pieces by William Butler Yeats. He then reads his own work, alternating between pieces that had been published in Popcorn Girl and what Dankleff referred to as his "Merchant Marine Poems". These are earlier versions of poems that would later be published in Off Watch. A full listing of the contents of the recording are available with the CD.
The recording was made in the late 1980s for John and Diana Van Driesche, and their son Richard, who was named for Dankleff. The Van Driesches played the original recording (on cassette tape) at a memorial service for Dankleff and were encouraged to duplicate the tape to compact disc and make it available to others.
Richard Dankleff Sound Recording, Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.