Dana Gioia

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 book 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.

Gioia is also a prolific literary anthologist. His anthology, Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, co-edited with X.J. Kennedy, is the best-selling college literary textbook in America. His many other anthologies include Twentieth-Century American Poetry, 100 Great Poets of the English Language, and The Longman Anthology of Short Fiction.

Dana Gioia was also a long-time commentator on American culture and literature for BBC Radio. His poems, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in many magazines including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Washington Post Book World, The New York Times Book Review, Slate and The Hudson Review.

His poetry has been set to music by many composers in genres from classical to rock, including a full-length dance theater piece, Counting the Children. He has written two opera libretti, including Nosferatu (2001), with composer Alva Henderson, published by Graywolf Press. A recording of Nosferatu was released by Albany Records in 2005.

Gioia is an active translator of poetry from Latin, Italian, German, and Romanian. He has published a translation of Italian Nobel Prize-winning poet Eugenio Montale's Mottetti (1990) as well as two large anthologies of Italian poetry. His translation of Seneca's The Madness of Hercules (1995) was performed by Verse Theater Manhattan.

In 2001, Gioia founded "Teaching Poetry," a conference dedicated to improving high school teaching of poetry. Also, he is the founder and co-director of the West Chester University Poetry Conference, the nation's largest annual all-poetry writing conference.

Dana Gioia has taught as a visiting writer at Johns Hopkins University, Sarah Lawrence College, Colorado College, and Wesleyan University. He is the former Vice President of the Poetry Society of America and has served on the boards of numerous arts organizations. He has been awarded five honorary doctorates.

Renominated by President George W. Bush in November 2006 for a second term and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Dana Gioia is the ninth Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Before moving to Washington, D.C., Dana Gioia lived in Sonoma County, California. He and his wife Mary have two sons.

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