I was proclaimed the 2nd Vallejo Poet Laureate on October 10th, 2017 at the city council meeting. My term runs from September 2017 until August 2019. I will be leading the Poetry in Notion group on 3rd Mondays at 6:30 PM at the JFK Library. To find out which events I’ll be reading at next, please visit the readings section. I ask that if you want for me to come share a poem at your event that you contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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, please write about something in Vallejo and submit it by following the instructions at this link.
Poetry in Notion
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. 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.
City of VALLEJO California
IN HONOR OF DIANA L. LANG
As POET LAUREATE FOR THE CITY OF VALLEJO
WHEREAS, Diana L. Lang has been selected by the Poetry Vallejo Committee – a committee consisting of the Solano County Chapter of The Links, Incorporated (Arts Facet) and the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation – and has graciously agreed to serve as Vallejo’s Poet Laureate for the term of September, 2017 to August 2019; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Lang, is a well-known and respected Vallejo citizen and published poet; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Lang’s early years were partly spent in Enid, Oklahoma, and while attending elementary school in Enid – a town whose name is after a character in the poem “Enid and Geraint,” written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson from the collection, “The Idylls of the King”- Ms. Lang first developed a fondness for poetry; she left Oklahoma in 2005 for California and has resided in Vallejo with her husband, Tim Lang, since 2014; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Lang’s deepest artistic influences are not poets, but musicians; in particular, the music of the 1960s, and that of Jewish musician Dan Nichols, who organized an open mic at her synagogue, inspiring Ms. Lang to be involved in the local poetry scene, to perform on a regular basis, and to read her poems to the public, which she has done since 2014; and
WHEREAS, Since 2011, Ms. Lang has published nine poetry collections and one spoken word album under the nom de plume D.L. Lang; her poetry has been published in the Benicia Herald, the Jewish Journal, and her pieces have been honored with awards at the Solano County Fair, Alameda County Fair, and the Marin County Fair; and
WHEREAS, Since 2015, Ms. Lang has been a regular spoken word performer at Poetry by The Bay and Poetry in Notion, has been featured at Vallejo’s Unity Day, Benicia First Tuesday Poets, Poetry Day at the Alameda County Fair, the Marin Poetry Center’s Travelling Show, and the Vallejo Man March Peace Rally; she has been a guest host for Poetry by the Bay and Poetry in Notion, and has served as a judge for the Solano County Poetry Out Loud Competition; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED, that I, Bob Sampayan, Mayor of the City of Vallejo, do hereby proclaim and appoint Diana L. Lang as the Official Poet Laureate of the City of Vallejo, in recognition of her significant body of work, and her service to poetry and poets in Vallejo, for a term of two years, ending on August 31, 2019.
Dated: October 10,2017
BOB SAMPAYAN, Mayor
Vice Mayor Robert H. McConnell
Councilmember Pippin Dew-Costa
Council member Katy Miessner
Councilmember Jesus “Jess” Malgapo
Councilmember Hermie R. Sunga
Councilmember Rozzana Verder-Aliga, Ed.D.
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.