State Poet Laureate to Speak at CSUN About ‘The Joys of Poetry and Prose’

California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia

California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia

California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia will talk about “The Joys of Poetry and Prose” during a special presentation at California State University, Northridge on Thursday, Nov. 16.

Gioia’s free public lecture will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Robert and Maureen Gohstand Leisure Reading Room on the second floor of the Delmar T. Oviatt Library, which sits at the center of the campus located at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge. An internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet, Gioia was appointed California Poet Laureate by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015.

“I am thrilled that Dana Gioia is coming to the CSUN campus,” said Mark Stover, dean of the Oviatt Library. “Along with his many accomplishments as a poet, Gioia also is a teacher, a leader in the arts and a brilliant essayist.”

Stover noted that Gioia once wrote, “Literature awakens, enlarges, enhances and refines our humanity in a way that almost nothing else can.”

“These words resonate with me because they eloquently describe how stories can elevate us as human beings, and create within us a strong sense of empathy and compassion,” Stover said. “It is fitting that Gioia is visiting the Oviatt Library’s Robert and Maureen Gohstand Leisure Reading Room, since Gioia is a great advocate of the idea of reading for pleasure and enjoyment. I am hopeful that many students and faculty on the CSUN campus will take advantage of this rare opportunity to hear the poetry and ideas of such an influential figure in the world of letters.”

Gioia spent the first 15 years of his career writing at night while working for General Foods Corporation. After his 1991 essay “Can Poetry Matter?” in The Atlantic generated international attention, Gioia quit his day job to pursue writing full time. “Can Poetry Matter?” was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and is credited with helping to revive the role of poetry in American public culture.

Gioia served as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003-09. He has published five full-length collections of poetry and won the Aiken-Taylor Award for lifetime achievement in American poetry in 2014. In addition to the poetry collections, he has published three volumes of literary criticism, as well as opera libretti, song cycles, translations and more than two dozen literary anthologies.

“I believe that poetry is for everyone,” Gioia said at the time of his appointment as California Poet Laureate. “It is not a remote or intellectual art. Poetry is our most concise, expressive and memorable way of using words, and it can play a powerful role in schools and civic life.”

Gioia is the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California.

While the event is free and open to the public, reservations are suggested. To reserve a seat, call (818) 677-2638 or visit the website

Gioia’s appearance is part of a free lecture series supported by CSUN’s Distinguished Visiting Speakers Program. Persons with disabilities needing assistance may email in advance for arrangements. For directions and parking details, visit

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