Napa County Poet Laureate Program

Napa County’s Poet Laureate is an honorary volunteer position appointed by the Napa County Board of Supervisors for a two-year term.

As an ambassador for poetry, the Napa County Poet Laureate is expected to promote citizens’ awareness of poetry, including spoken word, as well as heighten their appreciation of the art form. The Poet Laureate will strive to forge a meaningful connection with the community, undertaking projects that make poetry more available and more accessible to people in their everyday lives. During the Poet Laureate’s two-year appointment, they will be expected to present at selected public gatherings, initiate a dialogue between poets and the community, and inspire others in their writing, performance, and personal expression.

The Napa County Library and Arts Council Napa Valley facilitate the selection process on behalf of Napa County. The final appointment and announcement of the Poet Laureate rest solely with the Napa County Board of Supervisors.

Contact the Poet Laureate

2021-2023 Napa County Poet Laureate

Marianne Lyon

Marianne was a vocal music teacher for 43 years. Her career includes teaching in Minneapolis, Brussels, Belgium, NVUSD, and Hong Kong. After teaching in Hong Kong from 2009 -2012, Lyon returned to the Napa Valley to seriously write poetry. To date, she has 240 poems published in various literary magazines, journals, and reviews including Ravens Perch, Leaping Clear, Slippery Elm, Black Fork Review.

Marianne endeavors to immerse our community in the art of poetry as writers, readers, and audiences alike. She is honored to be a member of the California Writers Club, Solstice Writers in St. Helena, and Cofounder of Wordsmiths of Yountville.

“I want to offer those who have never viewed themselves as a poet many venues and talented mentors to ignite their inner-poet. Through my teaching career, there are few people I have met who have not been brushed by poetry. Their stories inspired songs, verse, even quirky rhymes. Often their memories haloed their verse. Poetry is a part of everyone’s life even if they are not aware of it,” Lyon explained.

During the Laureate’s two-year appointment, she will officiate at selected public gatherings both virtual and in-person when safe, initiate a dialogue between poets and the community, inspire others in writing and personal expression and bring recognition to the history and tradition of poetry in Napa County. “I want to build a movement in Napa county that bespeaks Poetry as a Revolution. As poets emerge and are honored more will attempt to write a verse, share it, publish it,” said Lyon.

Portrait of Marianne Lyon

2022-2023 Napa County Youth Poet Laureate

Joey DeNatale

Joseph (Joey) DeNatale is in 11th grade at Vintage High School, where he enjoys playing football and participating in Concert and Chamber choirs. Joey attended Napa Valley Language Academy and Harvest Middle School’s bilingual dual immersion program and has volunteered for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Napa Valley. Joey enjoys performing with school and community theatre groups and has previously performed with Lucky Penny, Cafeteria Kids Theatre, Napa High School, Napa Valley College, and Shakespeare Napa Valley. 

Joey and his band, The Turtlenecks, made up of four local high school students, have played original works at This is My Brave mental health fundraisers and via live concerts on Instagram. Joey also participated in Congressman Mike Thompson’s Student Leadership Council, where he and his peers led a climate change conference. Joey is grateful to have been chosen as this year’s Youth Poet Laureate for Napa County and looks forward to expressing important issues in our community through the art of poetry.

Portrait of Joey Denatale