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Invitation to Hear Dana Gioia Speak


    The University of Delaware Library will present Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and himself a poet, on Thursday, April 6, 2006, at 4:30 p.m. in the Reserve Room of the Morris Library.   He will speak about the NEA and also about his friend of many years, the Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Donald Justice.  The University of Delaware Library is the home of the Donald Justice Papers.  Interested persons can request a printed invitation by calling 302-831-2231.

About Dana Gioia

    Dana Gioia is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet.  A native Californian of Italian and Mexican descent, Mr. Gioia (pronounced JOY-uh) received a B.A. and a M.B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. 

    Nominated by President George W. Bush in January 2003 and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Dana Gioia began his term as the ninth Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts in February 2003.

    Dana Gioia has published three full-length collections of poetry as well as eight chapbooks. His poems, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in many magazines including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Washington Post Book World, The New York Times Book Review, Slate and The Hudson Review.  His poetry collection, Interrogations at Noon, won the 2002 American Book Award. An influential critic as well, his 1991 book Can Poetry Matter?, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award and is credited with giving rise to popular poetry movements such as poetry slams and cowboy poetry.  He was also a long-time commentator on American culture and literature for BBC Radio. 

    Mr. Gioia, an active translator of poetry from Latin, Italian, German, and Romanian, is also a prolific literary anthologist.  His anthology, Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, co-edited with X.J. Kennedy, is the best-selling college literary textbook in America and is used in courses at the University of Delaware. 

    In 2001, Dana Gioia founded "Teaching Poetry," a conference dedicated to improving the high school teaching of poetry.  He is the founder and co-director of the West Chester University Poetry Conference, the nation's largest annual all-poetry writing conference.

    Dana Gioia has served as a visiting writer at Johns Hopkins University, Sarah Lawrence College, Colorado College, and Wesleyan University. He is the former Vice President of the Poetry Society of America and has served on the boards of numerous arts organizations. He has been awarded five honorary doctorates.

About Donald Justice

    Donald Justice (1925-2004), called by the New York Times an “elder” of American poetry whose formalist verse and teaching skills were equally acclaimed, was the author of numerous books and the recipient of many grants and prizes including the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for his Selected Poems and the Bollingen Prize in Poetry in 1991. 

    Donald Justice was born in Miami in 1925 and graduated from the University of Miami in 1945.  He received an M.A. at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1947, did postgraduate work at Stanford, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1954.

    He published his first book of verse The Old Bachelor and Other Poems in 1951 which was followed by The Summer Anniversaries in 1960 which won the Inez Boulton Prize and was a Lamot Poetry Selection.  His Collected Poems was published in 2004.

    He taught at numerous institutions including the University of Missouri, the University of Florida, Syracuse University, and for many years at the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa.

    He received grants in poetry from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.  He served as Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets from 1997 to 2003.  The Library of Congress offered him the honorary position of Poet Laureate in 2003 though he was forced to decline because of his health.

    Richard Wilbur has stated “Donald Justice’s poems are made of beautifully plain language and a quiet virtuosity.  His sense of time, and of the phases of the daylight, is so exquisite that even present things, in his poems, are touched with memory.  There’s no one like him—a wonderful poet.”

    In The New Yorker the poetMark Strand commented, “Justice’s poems have a sweet and measured gravity that engages us on a level more profound than the one we usually find ourselves on …  Reading Justice, one feels keenly that a poem is an act of retrieval …  Memory and rapture are so closely intertwined that they become a single gesture.”

    The University of Delaware Library is the home of the Donald Justice Papers in Special Collections.

    The Donald Justice Papers comprise cover the years 1936-1998 and 10 linear feet of correspondence, poems, essays, reviews, stories, lectures, interviews, clippings, photographs, plays, librettos, contracts, books, programs, journals, calendars, thesis, dissertation, translations, proofs, posters, identification cards, transcripts, scrapbooks, certificates, royalty statements, broadsides, slides, and sheet music.  The collection is open for research.

    For online information about the Donald Justice Papers, visit [www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/findaids/justice/index.htm].

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