Former California poet laureate Dana Gioia will explore “The Enchantment of Poetry” on Thursday, Oct. 5, as part of the Gohstand Reading Room Biennial Lecture Series at California State University, Northridge’s University Library.
Gioia’s presentation is scheduled to take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Exhibit Gallery, adjacent to the Robert and Maureen Gohstand Leisure Reading Room, on the second floor of the University Library, which is located at the heart of CSUN’s campus at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge.
“I am thrilled to welcome Dana Gioia back to CSUN,” says Mark Stover, dean of CSUN’s University Library. “His forthcoming talk on the pleasures and wonders of poetry is poised to once more captivate and inspire our campus community. I fondly remember the last time he visited CSUN, and I’m eagerly awaiting his return on October 5.”
In 2017, the University Library hosted Gioia for “The Joys of Poetry and Prose” as part of the Gohstand Reading Room Biennial Lecture Series.
Born in Los Angeles in a working-class family of Italian and Mexican heritage, Gioia was the first person in his family to attend college. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music and master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University and a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University. For 15 years, he worked in business in New York, eventually becoming a vice-president at Kraft-General Foods. He wrote at nights and on weekends, before quitting his job in 1992 to become a full-time writer.
An internationally recognized poet and critic, he is the author of six collections of verse, including “Interrogations at Noon,” which won the American Book Award, and “99 Poems: New & Selected,” which won the Poets’ Prize for the best new poetry volume of the year. Gioia’s critical collections include National Book Critics Award finalist “Can Poetry Matter?” and “Studying with Miss Bishop: Memoirs from a Young Writer’s Life.”
Gioia has also written four opera libretti and edited 20 literary anthologies. He 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. He has 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.
“Meet Me at the Lighthouse,” Gioia’s latest work, is a dedication to the memory of his working-class, immigrant family with a medley of poems, song lyrics, and translations. The book will be available for sale at the University Library event.
Gioia’s presentation is free, and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. RSVPs are encouraged and appreciated. Requests for accommodation services (e.g., sign language interpreters or transcribers) must be made at least five business days in advance and can be emailed to email@example.com.