In an historic first Vallejo, California will appoint two poets to serve the community side by side as co-poets laureate, Jacalyn Eyvonne and Kathleen Herrmann. Their term will begin January 1st, 2024, and they will be proclaimed at city hall at a later date.
Vallejo Poetry Society extends our warmest congratulations to them both, and look forward to the many incredible projects they will create for the Vallejo poetry community in the coming years. We encourage all poets and local organizations to invite them to be featured performers and write occasional poetry for your special events.
Jacalyn Eyvonne is a widely published poet whose work has appeared in the The Oakland Tribune, and in the anthologies, Sistah’s With Ink (2013) and Wheelsong Poetry Anthology 3 (Wheelsong, United Kingdom, 2023). She is the author of several books, including I Am Not An Inconsequential Word(2022), Venting to Verse (2023), and has two forthcoming poetry collections, The Unyielding Weight of Words and The World in Black and Words. In addition her poem “The Talk” won 2nd place at the Jackson Book Festival poetry competition in Mississippi. Jacalyn is also a multi-talented visual artist with extensive experience in filmmaking, television production, and photography, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Motion Pictures & Television from Academy of Art University at San Francisco. Based in Oakland in the 1990s she edited and published several volumes of the national magazine In the Company of Poets which she later transformed into a television show of the same name, producing several seasons that featured and interviewed a wide variety of spoken word artists. She currently organizes and hosts the Poetry and Monologues and KidsNFilm film festivals, and has an exhibit melding photography and poetry currently on display at the McCune. Jacalyn will be the city’s second African-American poet laureate. Visit Jacalyn’s website at: Visit Jacalyn’s website at: http://jacalyneyvonne.com
Kathleen Herrmann is an internationally published poet whose work appears in 14 anthologies worldwide, including I Can’t Breathe (Kistrech Poetry, Kenya, 2021), Friendship (Pure Slush, Australia, 2021), and Work & the Anthropocene (Ice Floe Press, Canada, 2022). The Benicia Herald has also published numerous poems by Herrmann. She is working on an upcoming collection entitled I Was There, Now I’m Here: Crossing Borders, featuring the stories of refugees. Kathleen won Best of Show in Poetry at the 2022 and 2023 Solano County Fairs, and has also received awards from the Ina Coolbrith Poetry Circle, including 2nd place in 2022 and 3rd place in 2023. She has featured for the Flyway Festival, Alameda Island Poets, Benicia First Tuesday Poets, and Napa Valley Writers Club. She is a regular and occasional host at Art Beat Poetry Hour on KZCT. A retired teacher, Kathleen holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of California at Berkeley, and an M.A. in Teaching Leadership from St. Mary’s College of California, and hopes to hold workshops for the community and organize ekphrastic readings. Kathleen is also an experienced musician and singer, and hopes to meld the two art forms together to create a community song for Vallejo.
They follow in the footsteps of Vallejo Poet Laureate Jeremy Snyder who served a record four years, beginning in January 2020, hosting over 100 weekly open mic sessions for Poetry by the Bay via zoom. In addition he was a featured performer for many organizations, including the Empress Lounge with musical accompaniment, Beat Poetry Festival, Vallejo Poetry Festival, the Lake County Arts Council, Solano Library Foundation, and Richmond Arts & Culture Commission. He also hosted shows for Poetry Month at the JFK Library and Alibi Bookshop, was interviewed on the Bloom’s Rooted in Poetry podcast and KZCT radio, and had a piece published by Gnashing Teeth Publishing of Arkansas.
The poet laureate program began in 2015 after the tireless advocacy of Dr. Genea S. Brice, who served as the city’s first poet laureate, laying the foundation of the program and founding the Poetry in Notion poetry circle. She was followed by D.L. Lang in 2017 who published the anthology Verses, Voices, & Visions of Vallejo which features local poets.
The Poet Laureate is chosen by a committee of writers and performers, and this year included Renay Conlin of Vallejo Center for the Arts, Poet Laureate Emerita D.L. Lang, Pamela Herron, Melody Anderson-Brumidis, and Annalissa Quismoro.
Follow on Facebook:
Upcoming Vallejo Poet Laureate Jacalyn Eyvonne: https://www.facebook.com/jacalyn.eyvonne.author
Upcoming Vallejo Poet Laureate Kathleen Herrmann: https://www.facebook.com/poetlaureate4
Vallejo Poet Laureate Emerita Dr. Genea Brice: https://www.facebook.com/vallejopoetlaureate
Vallejo Poet Laureate Emerita D.L. Lang: https://www.facebook.com/PoetDLLang