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Name: Gioia, Dana
Current Position: Former Chairman
Dana Gioia was nominated to be NEA chairman by President George W. Bush in November 2002, after composer Michael Hammond died after serving just one week in the position. Gioia was the first member of his family to attend college, receiving a B.A. from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, in 1973; an M.A. in Comparative Literature in 1975, from Harvard; and an M.B.A. from Stanford Business School, in 1977. Then he moved to New York, where he began a fifteen-year career as a business executive, including serving as Vice President of General Foods. He also wrote at night, and on weekends, and in 1992 left the business world to become a full-time writer. His poetry, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in many magazines, including The New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, Slate, and the Washington Post Book World. His third collection of poems, Interrogations at Noon, won the American Book Award, and his work has been set to music by many composers in genres ranging from classical to rock, as well as a full-length dance theater piece. Gioia also wrote the libretto for the opera Nosferatu. In addition, his essay, “Can Poetry Matter?”, which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in May 1991, started an international debate on the role of poetry in contemporary intellectual life. Gioia also is a long-time commentator on American culture and literature for the BBC, and the classical music critic for San Francisco Magazine, as well as co-editor of four anthologies, a translator of poetry from German, Italian, Latin, and Romanian, and the founder and co-director of two literary conferences, including the, which is now the largest annual all poetry writing conference in the United States. Gioia is also Vice-President of the Poetry Society of America.
In November 2006 President Bush nominated Gioia for a second four-year term in the position of NEA Chair, but he left the position on January 22, 2009.
On the Road with Dana Gioia (by Philip Kennicott, Stanford Business)
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