Widely regarded as two of the most original voices of their generation, Kay Ryan (former U.S. Poet Laureate) and Dana Gioia (current California Poet Laureate) will share their views about American poetry from their perspective as outsiders, unconventional stylists, and native Californians. They will also celebrate the arrival of Gioia’s latest poetry collection, “99 Poems: New and Selected.”
Dana Gioia is an internationally acclaimed poet and critic. He is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, including Interrogations at Noon (2001), which won the American Book Award, and three collections of criticism, most notably Can Poetry Matter? (1992), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award. A best-selling literary anthologist, Gioia has edited or co-edited over two dozen collections of poetry, fiction, and drama. He has also written two opera libretti and has collaborated with composers in genres ranging from classical to jazz and rock. For six years (2003-2009) he served as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts where he gained strong bipartisan support for the previously imperiled agency and helped launch the largest literary programs in federal history, including The Big Read, Poetry Out Loud, and Shakespeare in American Communities. He was twice unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. For two years he directed the arts and culture programs for the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C. and Colorado. He is currently the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California. He divides his time between Los Angeles and Sonoma County, California.
Kay Ryan: 2009 United States Poet Laureate whose works include Elephant Rock, Say Uncle and Flamingo Watching.