Former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Dana Gioia is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet. A native Californian of Italian and Mexican descent, Gioia (pronounced JOY-uh) received a B.A. and a M.B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University.
Gioia has published three full-length collections of poetry, as well as eight chapbooks. His poetry collection, Interrogations at Noon, won the 2002 American Book Award. An influential critic as well, Gioia's 1991 volume Can Poetry Matter?, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, is credited with helping to revive the role of poetry in American public culture.
Question: How do you reach your audience?
Dana Gioia: Well there’s different works with different impacts. I mean what I hope is that I will write a few poems that lodge in people’s memory. That is the highest aspiration of a poet. Some of the prose I’ve written, some of the essays I’ve written, I know in a sense it changed at least American and some European countries’ sense of what the role of literature is . . . the role of poetry is in society. But you know prose, I think – especially critical prose, non-fiction prose – is by its nature almost always ________. You know you change the conversation for a moment if the essay is still read 10, 15 years later. And I’ve been lucky to have essays that are still read 10, 15 years later. I mean that’s the most you can hope for.
Recorded On: 7/6/07