Poets Laureate

First Christian Church of San Jose has two official poets laureate, Linda Lappin and Ralph Hietala. 

FCC's Poet Laureats, Linda Lappin and Ralph Hietala

















Linda Lappin

Linda, an English professor at San Jose State University, has an extensive writing history. 

Linda writes,  “I grew up in a house without books or paintings on the wall. There were no discussions of God or politics either—they were union democrats.  In the Haight-Ashbury I came to love the works of Richard Brautigan and Denise Levertov.  But it wasn’t until MANY years later when I came to San Jose State for an MFA in poetry and non-fiction that I came to know the works of Ellen Bass, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Lee Young Lee, more favorites.”

Linda’s poetry has been published in Convergence, the Coe Review, Habeas Corpus, and the Schuykill Valley Review as well as various online poetry sites.  Her MFA thesis, a collection of poems, was published as “Not Far From the Tree” is available through UMI Dissertation Services—ProQuest (www.il.proquest.com).

To view some of Linda’s poetry, click here.


Ralph Hietala

Our beloved Ralph passed away in 2017 at the age of 95. He lives on in our hearts and in the words of his poems.

Ralph began writing poetry with earnest in his eighth decade.   In his nineties he is still learning and enjoys sharing his love of words and humor with church members and friends. 

Ralph’s favorite poet is W. S. Merwin but his inspiration to write poetry came from Calvin Trillin: “Calvin Trillin writes a short poem in the Nation Magazine every week.  Many are only a few lines.  They were simple and funny.  My thought was it looked easy.  I tried writing humor poems.  I recited one in church.  Somebody laughed.  Thanks to that person that laughed—it gave me encouragement.”

To view some of Ralph’s poetry, click here.