Lucille Lang Day

Lucy received her M.A. in English and M.F.A. in creative writing at San Francisco State University, and her B.A. in biological sciences, M.A. in zoology, and Ph.D. in science/mathematics education at the University of California at Berkeley, where she held a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Her memoir, Married at Fourteen: A True Story (2012), received a 2013 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award and was a  finalist for the 2013 Northern California Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. Her full-length poetry collections are Birds of San Pancho and Other Poems of Place (2020), Becoming an Ancestor (2015), The Curvature of Blue (2009), Infinities (2002), Wild One (2000), Fire in the Garden(1997), and Self-Portrait with Hand Microscope (1982). She has also published two children’s books, The Rainbow Zoo (2016) and Chain Letter (2005), and four poetry chapbooks: Dreaming of Sunflowers: Museum Poems (2015), God of the Jellyfish (2007), The Book of Answers (2006), and Lucille Lang Day: Greatest Hits, 1975-2000 (2001). She is the editor of Poetry and Science: Writing Our Way to Discovery (2021). With Ruth Nolan, she edited Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California (2018), and with Kurt Schweigman, she edited Red Indian Road West: Native American Poetry from California (2016). She is a co-author of How to Encourage Girls in Math and Science (1982) and the editor of SEEK (Science Exploration, Excitement and Knowledge): A Curriculum in Health and Biomedical Science for Diverse 4th and 5th Grade Students (2010) as well as Family Health and Science Festival: A SEEK Event (2010). Her books are available at bookstores and through and Small Press Distribution.

Lucy served for six years as a science writer and administrator at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and for 17 years as the director of the Hall of Health, an interactive health museum and science center sponsored by UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. When the Hall of Health closed, she served as a staff scientist at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute to complete the museum’s research projects in health-and-science education. She has also worked as a freelance writer, technical writer/editor, school-district math/science specialist, math/science education consultant, and college lecturer. She is the founder and publisher of a small press, Scarlet Tanager Books.

Rebellious and willful as a teenager, Lucy first married at age 14 and gave birth at 15. Between the ages of 14 and 17, she did not attend school. In addition to mothering during these years, she worked as a sales representative for Beauty Counselor Cosmetics, a phone girl at Chicken Delight, and a gas station attendant. These experiences kindled her enthusiasm for academics.

She is of British, Swiss/German, and Wampanoag descent. Her father, Richard Lang, was a banker and photographer, her mother, Evelyn (née Evelyn Ellis Bumpus), a homemaker. Her ancestors include a lecturer in Hebrew at Oxford University in the 16th century, a man who fell off the Mayflower during a storm and was hauled back on board with a boat hook, the first person executed in Plymouth Colony (for murder), a woman who was whipped at the post for adultery, a Revolutionary War sergeant who fathered 22 children, a teenager who joined the Union Army and served in a regiment that was decimated by yellow fever, a man who traveled from Massachusetts to California twice during the Gold Rush but did not get rich, a Caucasian housekeeper who bore the illegitimate daughter of a Wampanoag man, and many other people who did wondrous, courageous, or despicable things. The mother of two grown daughters and grandmother of four, Lucy lives in Oakland with her husband, writer Richard Michael Levine.