Dana Gioia

Dana Gioia is the former Poet Laureate of California. An internationally recognized poet and critic, he has published 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. His influential critical collections include Can Poetry Matter? (1992), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award.

Gioia has collaborated with many classical and jazz composers, including Lori Laitman, Morten Lauridsen, Ned Rorem, Paul Salerni, Stefania de Kenessey, Alva Henderson, Tom Cipullo, David Felder, Helen Sung, and Dave Brubeck. He has also written four opera libretti, including Nosferatu (2004) with Alva Henderson, Tony Caruso’s Final Broadcast (2010) and Haunted (2019) with Paul Salerni, and The Three Feathers (2014) with Lori Laitman.

Gioia served as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 to 2009. He has been praised as “the man who saved the NEA.” Gioia has been awarded 11 honorary doctorates. He has also received Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, the Aiken-Taylor Award in Modern Poetry, and the Presidential Citizens Medal. For many years Gioia was the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California.