Vallejo Poet Laureate
I will officially be proclaimed the 2nd Vallejo Poet Laureate on October 10th, 2017 at the city council meeting. Genea and I are currently in a transitional phase between our laureateships. She will be honored on September 12th, 2017 by the Vallejo city council. Please come on out to city hall for each occasion or if this is a hardship, you are always welcome to watch the live stream.
I would like to thank the committee which is sponsored by the Solano County chapter of the Links and the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation for choosing me as the 2nd Vallejo Poet Laureate. It is truly an honor and a dream come true to be recognized for my passion, and to use it to give back to this beautiful city that I have called home since 2014. Vallejo, you have lived up to your nickname. You truly are The City of Opportunity.
Inaugural Poet Laureate Genea Brice is an incredible poet and a truly inspiring and kind person who I’ve had the pleasure of hearing many times over the past two years from Unity Day to International Peace Day to monthly meetings at the JFK Library. I am honored to follow in her footsteps. You all should run out and purchase a copy of her latest book, A Way With Words: Poems, Prose, and Other Masterpieces, Book 1! (Seriously, do that now. I’ll wait.)
I composed a poem about Vallejo and read it at Genea’s end-of-term celebration. Click to watch my reading of the poem “Vallejo, California” on 7.28.2017
Congratulations & many thanks to Genea Brice, Vallejo’s outgoing & first-ever Poet Laureate, for all she's done for our community. pic.twitter.com/6BLc8fypSt
— Mike Thompson (@RepThompson) July 31, 2017
Vallejo Poetry Chapbook: Verses, Voices, & Visions of Vallejo
I hope to use my time as laureate to lift up the voices of the many other talented Vallejo poets. It is my goal to publish a chapbook entitled Verses, Voices, & Visions of Vallejo which will feature poets of all ages who are connected to Vallejo, and to celebrate this wonderful city, her events, her people, and her places. Proceeds will be donated to a non-profit and reprint rights will remain with the individual authors, so if you’re a local poet, be thinking about something in Vallejo that you’d like to submit.
Please come and share your poetry at the JFK Library on 3rd Mondays from 6:30-8:00 PM for Poetry in Notion, a read around group that began as a project of our inaugural poet laureate Genea Brice. Also, if you are an area poet, I have compiled a list of resources for Solano County Poets.
Someday, perhaps decades from now, colleges in whatever form they take may be offering courses such as “The Work of D.L. Lang: An Exploration of Early 21st Century Metaphors.” I wonder if she’d be pleased? Probably not. What professor could understand her work as well as she does? — Richard Bloch
A special congratulations to OU Film and Media Studies grad DL Lang on being named the 2017-2019 Poet Laureate for Vallejo, Cali.! –University of Oklahoma College of Arts and Sciences
— OU Arts and Sciences (@OUArtsSciences) July 26, 2017
I am now proud to announce that Diana is now the 2017-2019 Poet Laureate of Vallejo, California. So congratulations to her for her latest poetry honor. We will be reading much more poetry from her in the future and maybe another Grey song will be created from her great poetry works. –Greg “Grey” Perkins
I sent in my application for the Vallejo Poet Laureate on April 18th after the encouragement of friends, doctors, and acquaintances, and then I waited… It was a complete surprise to me, when on July 21st, I received an email from the Vallejo Poet Laureate Committee:
CONGRATULATIONS!!! You are the new Poet Laureate for the City of Vallejo!! We know that you will continue the wonderful example set by our Inaugural Poet Laureate, Genea Brice, and we look forward to the new ideas that you expressed in your cover letter. Your appointment will be announced on Friday, July 28, 2017, in the McCune Room, JFK Library, Lower Level.
I was quite surprised to learn that I had been chosen for this volunteer poetry opportunity. While writing and performing is what I enjoy most, I also intend to use whatever status this may give me to shine a light on the many other talented poets in the community. Vallejo has many poets that are equally if not more worthy of such an opportunity in the future.
Preferred method of contact
I ask that if you want for me to come share a poem at your event that you contact me via email at email@example.com in lieu of phone or social media so that I can better manage my time, keep track of opportunities, as well as utilize dictation and other accessible means of communication as required by my medical restrictions. Approaching me in person is also totally cool!
Additional gratitude is needed, for I recognize that I would not have this honorary title without the encouragement of the following people:
A huge thank you to Dan Nichols for his artistic encouragement and seeing my potential. To the musicians, clergy, staff and congregants at Congregation Rodef Sholom without whom I would not have begun speaking publicly in the first place.
To Debbi Handler and Aviva Shane for driving across three counties to deliver a challah. To Congregation Rodef Sholom for the lovely card! To Matthew Finkelstein and Susan George for the surprise pizza dinner.
Thank you to Kyrah Ayers and the rest of my fellow poets at Poetry by the Bay for providing a warm, open-minded, friendly atmosphere for me to perform on a regular basis. To Jeremy Snyder for the amazing poem! To Lee Lee for photographing, filming, and supporting every poet to ever grace the stage at the Hub.
To Genea Brice, Poet Laureate Emeritus, Jeff Kingman of the JFK Library, and the other regulars at the Poetry in Notion group. To Benicia Poet Laureate Johanna Ely, Jeremy Cantor, Peter Bray, and the rest of the Benicia First Tuesday Poets. To Gina Guzzo who blessed me with one of her fabulous angels, and Marcy Fortner Orendorff who blessed me with a spectacular lion painting. To Jessica Brown for providing another venue for poets and performers, connecting me with the podcast, and most of all for your amazing photos!
To all of my language and literature teachers from elementary school to college, from English to French to German to Hebrew to Yiddish. To Nat, who cannot read this unless they get RSS feeds in the afterlife, for being my creative partner as a kid and pushing me to learn writing beyond school.