poem index

poet

Dana Gioia

1950- , Hawtharne , CA , United States
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Dana Gioia
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On December 24, 1950, Dana Gioia was born in Hawthorne, California. He received a BA from Stanford University. Before returning to Stanford to earn an MBA, he completed an MA in comparative literature at Harvard University, where he studied with the poets Robert Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Bishop. In 1977 he moved to New York to begin a career in business. For fifteen years Gioia worked as a businessman, eventually becoming a vice president of General Foods. In 1992, after publishing his first book of poetry, Daily Horoscope (Graywolf Press), in 1986, he left business to become a full-time writer.

Gioia is the author of several poetry collections, including 99 Poems: New & Selected (Graywolf Press, 2016), Interrogations at Noon (Graywolf Press, 2001), winner of the American Book Award; The Gods of Winter (1991); and Daily Horoscope (1986).

His critical collection, Can Poetry Matter?: Essays on Poetry and American Culture (Graywolf, 1992), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award in Criticism. Since then, Gioia has published two other collections of criticism, Barrier of a Common Language: An American Looks at Contemporary British Poetry (University of Michigan Press, 2003) and Disappearing Ink: Poetry at the End of Print Culture (Graywolf Press, 2004).

He has also written an opera libretto, Nosferatu, translated Eugenio Montale's Mottetti (Graywolf Press, 1990), coedited two anthologies of Italian poetry and four of the nation's best-selling college literature textbooks.

Gioia has cofounded two major literary conferences. In 1995 he helped create the West Chester University summer conference on Form and Narrative, which is now the largest annual poetry-writing conference in the United States. In 2001 he began "Teaching Poetry," a conference in Santa Rosa, California, dedicated to improving high school teaching of poetry. He has also taught as a visiting writer at Colorado College, Johns Hopkins, Sarah Lawrence, Mercer, and Wesleyan University. From 2003 to 2009, Gioia served as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2015, he was appointed poet laureate of California. He lives in Sonoma County, California, with his wife and two sons.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry
99 Poems: New & Selected (Graywolf Press, 2016)
Pity the Beautiful (Graywolf Press, 2012)
Interrogations at Noon (Graywolf Press, 2001)
The Gods of Winter (Graywolf Press, 1991)
Daily Horoscope (Graywolf Press, 1986)

Prose
Disappearing Ink: Poetry at the End of Print Culture (Graywolf Press, 2004)
Barrier of a Common Language: An American Looks at Contemporary British Poetry (University of Michigan Press, 2003)
Can Poetry Matter? Essays on Poetry and American Culture (Graywolf Press, 1992)

by this poet

poem
The world does not need words. It articulates itself 
in sunlight, leaves, and shadows. The stones on the path 
are no less real for lying uncatalogued and uncounted.
The fluent leaves speak only the dialect of pure being. 
The kiss is still fully itself though no words were spoken.

And one word transforms it
poem
Sometimes a child will stare out of a window
for a moment or an hour—deciphering
the future from a dusky summer sky.

Does he imagine that some wisp of cloud
reveals the signature of things to come?
Or that the world’s a book we learn to translate?

And sometimes a girl stands naked by a mirror
imagining beauty