Bio of Vallejo Poet Laureate, D.L. Lang
“Poems that embrace spoken-word rhythms and hippie principles, inspired by the author’s love of music and nature, her peace activism, and her gratitude for Jewish community.”
D.L. Lang is the current Poet Laureate of Vallejo, California. She is the author of nine books, and one spoken word album. Her poems have been published in the Benicia Herald, Jewish Journal, Poets Are Heroes Magazine, and in A Poet’s Siddur: Friday Evening Liturgy through the Eyes of Poets. Lang has been a featured act at the Vallejo Man March, Unity Day, Benicia First Tuesday Poets, and is a regular at Poetry by the Bay and Poetry in Notion. Her website is www.poetryebook.com
D.L. Lang is the second Poet Laureate of Vallejo, California (2017-2019). She is the author of Tea & Sprockets, Abundant Sparks & Personal Archeology, Look Ma! No Hands!, Poet Loiterer, Id Biscuits, Barefoot in the Sanctuary, Armor Against The Dawn, and Dragonfly Tomorrows & Dog-eared Yesterdays. She also released her debut spoken word album entitled Happy Accidents.
Her poetry has also been published in the Benicia Herald, Poets Are Heroes Magazine, and the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. Several of her pieces have been honored with awards at the Solano County Fair, Alameda County Fair, and the Marin County Fair. Her interpretation of “V’shamru” entitled “Watch this Space” is included in A Poet’s Siddur by Ain’t Got No Press, edited by Rick Lupert. Four of her poems are included in the 2018 Benicia First Tuesday Poets anthology, Light & Shadow.
Lang has been reading her poems to the public since 2014, when she became inspired to perform on a regular basis after an open mic at her synagogue. She has since been a regular spoken word performer at Poetry by the Bay since 2015, featured as a part of the Marin Poetry Center’s Travelling Show, a mystery poet at the Benicia First Tuesday Poets, performed at Poetry Day at the Alameda County Fair, and was a featured spoken word performer at the Vallejo Man March peace rally. She has also guest hosted Poetry by the Bay, served as a judge for the Solano County Poetry Out Loud Competition and the Solano County Library Teen Writing Competition, taught self-publishing to the JFK Library’s Poetry in Notion and the Benicia First Tuesday Poets, and was interviewed on the Duck Soop podcast.
As Vallejo Poet Laureate she performed for the Resilient by Design environmentalists, Vallejo’s Unity Day, Vallejo Peace Project’s International Peace Day rally, the debut of Queer Words Vallejo, and Vallejo’s Solidarity with Charlottesville rally. She has written and performed ekphrastic poems for events at Coal Shed Art Studios, Arts Benicia, Gallery 621, and Benicia Plein Air Gallery. Since August 2017, she has hosted Poetry in Notion at the JFK Library.
D.L. Lang holds a B.A. in Film & Video Studies with a minor in Judaic Studies from the University of Oklahoma and an A.S. in General Studies from Northern Oklahoma College. She was born in Germany to a German mother and an American soldier. Her early years were spent in Germany, Texas, Louisiana, and ultimately Enid, Oklahoma. She left Oklahoma for California in 2005 after graduating college, and has resided in Vallejo, California with her husband since 2014.
D.L. Lang has been writing poetry for over twenty years, since she first got a taste of it in elementary school while growing up in Enid, Oklahoma, a town which happens to be named after a character in a poem, “Enid and Geraint” in Idylls of the King. Over the years Enid, Oklahoma has been home to a few notable poets, including J. Quinn Brisben, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Oklahoma State Poets Laureate Carol Hamilton and Bess Truitt.
Her deepest artistic influences are not poets but musicians. She finds herself learning new vocabulary and analyzing rhyming patterns and themes in song lyrics most often. Due to its often idealistic vision of a better, more peaceful world, Lang enjoys the music of the 1960s the most. She publishes her poetry collections under the nom de plume D.L. Lang, which is really just her initials in order to avoid confusion with several namefellows, including some who are already established authors and poets living in California.
Jewish musician Dan Nichols had a profound effect on her growth as a person and as an artist by encouraging her both spiritually and artistically, both directly and through his music, to seek meaning in art, to make meaningful art, and to chase her dreams. It was an open mic at her synagogue organized by Dan that got her performing in the first place.
She’s related to several historical figures, including a few of the poet variety: John Cotton who wrote what is considered the first notable American poem when he wrote an elegy for Nathaniel Bacon during Bacon’s Rebellion. Another is John Reed, the bohemian poet who was actually more famous for his journalism covering the Russian Revolution. In addition, our 44th president Barack Obama was a published poet during his college years, and songwriter Harry Chapin also published a poetry book. She is proud to know they are also distant cousins.
Although poetry is her passion, she has a creative background that spans several different mediums. She spent several years designing the website and producing music videos for Grey, a rock musician in Enid, Oklahoma. Lang designed the album covers for many of Grey’s albums, including Faded Colours, Colours, Rock & Pop, Words & Music, Anamnesis, Ice World, Inquire Within, Live at PEGASYS, and Acoustic Grey. In addition, she designed the album cover for We’re Almost Gone, the debut album by the group Bermuda County, whose musicians often play on Grey’s albums.
Although she has since moved on from providing these services, Grey produced her spoken word album Happy Accidents and the song “Last Chance Disaster” at his Grey Havens Studios. Grey also transformed four of her poems into the song, “Oh, My Chameleon Perceptions” which appears on his latest release Booze & Psychedelics. Musician Fred Ross-Perry was also inspired by some of her lines to create the song “Peace Will Come.”
D.L. Lang majored in film in college, working at the television stations KXOK and TV4OU, and volunteering at PEGASYS, where she was awarded Best Editor in 2002, and Producer of the Year in both 2003 and 2004. She edited Charles Maupin’s Liquid Wind (2004), a documentary about windsurfing and kiteboarding on Lake Hefner in Oklahoma. It won Best Film Trailer at Bare Bones Film Festival in 2004 and still shows regularly in Oklahoma on PBS. She directed, scored, edited, filmed, and appeared in the Hebrew language film, The Hebrew Project (2005) which is a documentary about the Hebrew program run by Dr. Ori Kritz at the University of Oklahoma. This film was optioned by The Jewish Channel and aired in 2009.