Re: Whom would you like to interview, and what would you ask?
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: Whom would you like to interview, and what would you ask?
Dana Gioia: My fourteen year old son’s asking if I can meet anybody in the world, who I would meet. And the choices I always give him are very disappointing because they’re mostly artists whose minds I find very interesting. Tom ______ I would love to sit and talk to. But the fact is that if I meet somebody that I greatly admire – even though I myself am a person of some stature – I’m sort of tongue-tied. They’re tongue-tied. And meetings need to happen naturally. I mean for example, my favorite . . . one of my favorite musicians is Aimee Mann. You know I went to an Aimee Mann concert, went backstage, talked to her for a while. Fascinating. Great gal. But you know what is it? I’m some stranger that, you know, she’s invited into her . . . into her backstage. And the conversation we had was somewhat forced. And the people that I would most like to meet are my dearest friends whom I see to seldom, and with whom when I get together I have wonderful, deep, joyful conversations, or exuberant arguments. And if, in the course of my life I can add to my friends; or I can meet, you know a few great artists with whom I develop . . . or with whom we develop mutual friendship, I can’t imagine anything more pleasurable, more enriching in life. The people I most definitely don’t wanna meet are the high and the mighty. You know I salute them from my . . . from the depths of my Bohemian being. Let them go on about their life. But I think it’s a very dangerous thing for an artist to try to cultivate wealth to cultivate power. If it happens naturally, that’s wonderful. But you know you should always meet people in a democracy as equals. You respect them, they respect you. And I don’t want to live in a _______ society where people are ______ favor for their own advantage. I think that’s dangerous.
Recorded On: 7/6/07
Gioia leans towards interviewing artists whose minds he finds interesting, but figures he'd get tongue tied.
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