On the 3/15/23 edition of Dr. Andy’s Poetry and Technology Hour:
Former California poet laureate Dana Gioia joins the show for a meaningful discussion of poetry – the media in which it thrives, the reasons why young audiences are more engaged than ever, and all the nuances of word choice (with none of the pretension). He shares a bit about his book Meet Me at the Lighthouse, as well as one of its poems, a psalm that provides a metaphorical map of Los Angeles with an astrological twist. Later, Vice President of the Friends of the Davis Public Library Jeff Lee tells us about local used bookstore Logos Books, their monthly book sales, and their support of the Davis Public Library.
Dana Gioia is the former Poet Laureate of California. An internationally recognized poet and critic, he is the author of six collections of verse, including Interrogations at Noon (2001), which won the American Book Award, and 99 Poems: New & Selected (2016), which won the Poets’ Prize for the best new poetry volume of the year. His latest book, Meet Me at the Lighthouse, has just been published by Graywolf Press.
Gioia’s critical collections include Can Poetry Matter? (1992), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award, and Studying with Miss Bishop: Memoirs from a Young Writer’s Life (2022).
He has also written four opera libretti and edited twenty literary anthologies. Gioia served as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 to 2009 where he created major national programs such as The Big Read and Poetry Out Loud.
Gioia was born in Los Angeles in a working-class family of Italian and Mexican heritage. He was the first person in his family to attend college. He earned a BA and MBA from Stanford and an MA from Harvard. For fifteen years he worked in business in New York, becoming a vice-president of Kraft-General Foods. He wrote at nights and on weekends. In 1992 he quit to become a full-time writer.
He has been awarded eleven honorary doctorates and many honors, including the Laetare Medal from Notre Dame, the Presidential Civilian Medal, the Poet’s Prize, the Walt Whitman Champion of Literary Award, and the Aiken-Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry. He served as the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California before retiring in 2020 to return to full-time writing.
Dana Gioia will read at the Poetry Night Reading Series on Thursday, March 16th, with a Q&A following his reading.
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