Diana M. Vogel, a poet, writer, and critic whose work appeared under the name D.H. Melhem, died in Long Beach, Calif., on June 15. A former summer resident of Springs, she was 86 and had been in declining health since she had a stroke in 2012.
She published seven books of poetry, a fiction trilogy, short stories, essays, and academic articles, as well as two books of criticism on the African-American poet Gwendolyn Brooks.
Ms. Vogel first came to East Hampton with her parents in the 1930s. Born on July 14, 1926, and raised in Brooklyn, she was the daughter of Nicholas Melhem and the former Georgette Deyrataui, both Lebanese immigrants. She attended Girls Commercial High School and then New York University, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and received a bachelor’s degree, cum laude. She then earned a master’s degree and a doctorate from the City University of New York. She later became an adjunct professor at City University.
A political activist, she spent hours on picket lines and in demonstrations regarding a number of issues, from nuclear testing to civil rights to the Vietnam War. “She was a fearless champion of the underdog,” her family said, “including the Brooklyn Dodgers.”
Ms. Vogel cherished the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where she lived from the time of her marriage in 1950 to Constantine (Chester) Vogel until her move to California in 2012. Mr. Vogel, from whom she was divorced, died in 1997.
The Vogels built a family bungalow in the Barnes Landing section of Springs in 1960. Ms. Vogel loved the area’s natural beauty, which influenced some of her work, and enjoyed swimming, gardening, and playing tennis. She often read her poetry at local events.
She was a member of the Democratic Party and Women Strike for Peace, and a founding member of the International Women’s Writing Guild. She had received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and an American Book Award.
She is survived by a daughter, Dana M. Vogel of Falls Church, Va., and a son, Gregory M. Vogel of Long Beach, Calif.
Ms. Vogel’s ashes will be buried at Green River Cemetery in Springs in a private ceremony next month. A memorial service is planned for later this year in New York City.
Donations in her memory have been suggested to the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute, 339 Lafayette Street, New York City 10012, for use in the War Resisters League’s educational programs.