It’s uncommon for 3 poet award winners – The Vacaville Reporter – to satisfy
Roses are red, violets are blue. Thanks to the variant, it’s zoom time for you.
OK, Shakespeare isn’t turning around in his grave. And when he does, he laughs.
Yes, COVID has raised its ugly tips again. And it means that Vallejo’s only poet award winner, who comes together on September 5th to read at the Alibi Bookshop in downtown, is confronted not with a personal smile, but with the all-too-familiar zoom camera.
Although DL Lang is not speechless – she is a poet – she is certainly disappointed.
“I love reading in front of a live audience because there is so much interaction and you can feel the energy of the room,” Lang said on Tuesday on the phone. “With Zoom, you don’t know how people will react after you’ve read.”
All the same. Lang said it was still a unique event when she met fellow poets Genea Brice and Jeremy Snyder at 2 p.m.
Alibi co-owner Karen Finlay asked Lang to plan a solo show in late 2020, “and I said, ‘Why not three?’ We had never performed in the same place before, ”said Lang.
“I think we’re all eager to see each other,” said Lang. “We just want to perform”
Genea Brice is excited to attend a live zoom reading from the Alibi bookstore in downtown Vallejo with her colleagues. (Richard Freedman / Times-Herald file photo)
Brice was Vallejo’s first ever Poet Prize winner and served her 2015-17 two-year reign. She moved to Texas after Lang became a poet laureate. Snyder began his tenure in December 2019 and is likely to be extended for a year as COVID-19 set the screws on public appearances. In the meantime, Brice returned to the area and moved to Vacaville.
“I’m disappointed that there won’t be a personal audience,” said Brice on the phone, lamenting the regrettably obvious: “COVID has changed a lot. That’s just terrible. “
The change from the eagerly awaited real audience to Zoom “has changed in recent weeks due to the Delta variant,” said Lang.
To Zoom, “I knew it was in the best interests of the community’s safety,” Brice said. “I’m glad we didn’t cancel and it still provides a platform for those who like to read poetry and for those who like to listen. So my disappointment is tempered by the excitement about the opportunity. “
Lang last read to about 25 people at a Solano County Jewish Democratic event in April.
“I definitely miss our live audience. But we didn’t want to postpone it, ”she said. “We were all pretty much in agreement.”
“I love reading with DL and Genea,” said Snyder. “They are both so talented writers that it is an honor to share any stage or screen with them. I was only a poet laureate for a month when the pandemic broke out, so my experience so far has been different. “
Hosting a weekly Zoom poetry reading, Zoom “provided us with an opportunity to get together and share poetry, which was vital for many in these troubled times,” said Snyder. “Zoom is a great thing because the alternative would probably be nothing. After hosting a live show for many years, I’ll say the energy is different. The reader gets energy from the audience and there is a tangible feeling that you don’t get when sharing creative writing in a virtual world. “
The poet award winner Jeremy Snyder from Vallejo will read from his work on September 5th. (Courtesy photo)
As a poet laureate, “I wanted to start some workshops for teenagers and people with anxiety, but that’ll have to wait until we get COVID under control,” said Snyder. “We start each weekly zoom with a 10-minute free letter where people can put some of their thoughts on paper. This cathartic process of getting things out of the way is so important. To be honest, I don’t know what the future has in store for me. “
At the alibi event, each poet will read for 20 minutes and a question-and-answer session is possible, Lang said, believing Zoom has some kind of silver lining.
“All my friends from other places can come up and watch if they want,” she said.
The attraction, continues Lang, “is that we are all stylistically very different in our poetry and I think that makes for variety. I appreciate Genea’s fiery voice, and I appreciate Jeremy’s ability to manipulate language. “
“That’s the beauty of poetry,” said Brice. “You can be different and you can be diverse and share your story much to the gratitude of your audience. People don’t always want to hear the same thing. They want your attitude and your perspective. “
Lang said she would read from one of her books available in the library.
For the public or for herself, Lang said poetry helped her deal with the pandemic.
“This is how I process the world,” she said.
“I believe that poets will look back on that time and write some powerful things to put it in perspective,” said Snyder. “I will continue to do what I can to cultivate the love of writing in other people until we can all meet again in person.”
Lang said she would like to arrange another event with her poet winners.
“I’m always happy to perform with both of them,” she said.
The Vallejo Poets Laureate Read in the Alibi Bookshop, Sunday, September 5, 2:00 p.m. Available through Zoom. More information is available at www.alibibookshop.com.