As the Founder and Executive Director of Get Lit-Words Ignite, Diane Luby Lane is a recognized leader in the fight to improve teen literacy. She has molded this program into a non-profit champion of teen literacy, performance poetry and workshops in Southern California. In 2012, Diane was honored as a recipient of the Presidential Lifetime Volunteer Service Award.
It Only Takes One Poem
Born in New Jersey, she became involved with a guerrilla poetry group led by the legendary actress Viveca Lindfors (The Way We Were, King of Kings), while studying at NYU. While there, she workshopped a series of original monologues, which became the basis of her first book, Words of Women. Diane later moved to San Francisco and led the drama program of the newly formed spoken word organization, Youth Speaks.
Born Feet First
In 2000, with her first child in tow, she moved to Los Angeles. She helped support her family through commercial work and opened Deep Sea Diving, critically-acclaimed a one-woman show about the significant impact books had made on her life. She played 20 characters, including the poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, author of Blood In, Blood Out. Her life changed the night Jimmy and director Taylor Hackford happened to be in the audience.
With their help, Diane re-tooled the show as Born Feet First and opened for Jimmy at universities, high schools, prisons and detention facilities across the Southwest. What she found was an outpouring of enthusiasm from an unlikely source: teens that were at risk for dropping out. The word quickly spread among teachers.
Get Lit-Words Ignite
Following the success of her show, in 2006 Diane created a 12-week curriculum, Ignite Proactive Poetry, inspired largely by her work with Viveca. Implemented at Fairfax, Fremont and Walt Whitman High Schools, the classes were enormously popular. At the end of the first workshop, many of the students wished to continue and Diane established a small practice space in the Fairfax library.
The teens absorbed so much classic and original poetry that Diane started booking performances around Los Angeles then across the country. The Get Lit Players now come from schools throughout the Los Angeles area and reach over 10,000 teens annually. They are the only classic teen poetry troupe in the nation and have been featured on HBO, the LA Times, and countless other media. In 2010, Get Lit hosted HBO’s Brave New Voices international teen poetry competition and the Get Lit Players both kicked off the event with a classical performance and represented Los Angeles, making semifinals in the Slam for their original poetry. Ignite Proactive Poetry has been given a resounding endorsement from UCLA and arts evaluator, Professor James Catteral, and is now included in schools throughout Southern California.
Taking Get-Lit to the next level, Get Lit LA is set to debut in March 2011. This online citywide youth publication―a monthly periodical― is created by and for teens and mentored by professional journalists.
With a furious one-woman outreach campaign Diane has been able to obtain sponsorship and support from impressive array of celebrities including the Dodger’s Ned Colletti, Stan Lathan, Sharon Stone, JJ Abrams and Robert Pinsky. Academy Award winner Tim Robbins offered a rehearsal space at his Actors’ Gang Theater in Culver City which hosts Get Lit Player performances once a month. Diane’s work also attracted the attention of California Poet Laureate Carol Muske-Dukes. The two eventually partnered and merged Muske-Dukes’ Magic Poetry Bus project with Get Lit. Diane contributed to The Magic Poetry Bus Guide, a manual to poetic form which is donated to public schools throughout California and the nation.
Get Lit-Words Ignite continues to thrive fueled only by donations and volunteerism.
Awards and Speaking Engagements
Diane advises and inspires educators throughout California. Through the years, she has been invited to speak at USC, UCLA, CATE National Convention of Teachers, the Los Angeles Book Fair and many other venues where she promotes literacy and trains teachers. She is a recipient of the James Patterson PageTurner award and the KNX Hero Award for her work promoting literacy.
You may contact Diane via email or by contacting Cher at Innovative Artists Agency at 310-656 5162.