Dana Gioia

2009

Dana Gioia was the recipient of the Newington-Cropsey Cultural Studies Center Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2009.

Mr. Gioia’s commitment to excellence underlies his craftsmanship as a poet and his success as a public-arts policymaker. Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 to 2009, Mr. Gioia strengthened the national consensus in favor of public funding for the arts and arts education. Garnering bipartisan support in Congress, he restored the NEA to its original mission, stating: “My objective has been to insist that there are things in our society that are neither right nor left. … What I sought to do was to take arts and arts education out of the divisive and destructive rhetoric of the culture wars.”

He distributed grants to underserved communities and created national initiatives, such as Shakespeare in American Communities, Operation Homecoming—writing workshops for returning service people conducted by distinguished authors—and Big Read, the largest literary program in U.S. history.

Mr. Gioia received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from StanfordUniversityand an M.A. in comparative literature from HarvardUniversity.  An internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet, he has published four full-length collections of poetry, including Interrogations at Noon, which won the 2002 American Book Award, and eight chapbooks. His critical study Can Poetry Matter? is widely credited with bringing the form to a broader audience, and his poems, essays and translations (from Latin, Italian and German) have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Slate and The Hudson Review, among other publications. Mr. Gioia has edited a number of literary anthologies, including Twentieth-Century American Poetry and The Longman Anthology of Short Fiction.

In addition to writing, Mr. Gioia teaches in the fall semester as the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California. 

Visit Mr. Gioia’s website: http://www.danagioia.net/