Friday, September 12, 2008

Dana Gioia is leaving the NEA

Poet and critic Dana Gioia will step down in January as the head honcho of the National Endowment for the Arts. During his six year tenure he helped make the organization more visible in local communities and schools, thus helping to squelch conservative criticism that has plagued the organization in the past. Gioia is leaving, he said, to write more poems.
"Six years is a long time in a job. I have done most of the things I set out to do. I really want to go back to writing. I haven't had time for my own writing. I write all the time for the NEA, official writing. Since I have become chairman, I have not published a poem."
Since his poems are quite good, it's probably a good thing that he have more time to write them. Let's hope that the person who takes his place at the NEA continues moving the organization forward.


So much of what we live goes on inside–
The diaries of grief, the tongue-tied aches
Of unacknowledged love are no less real
For having passed unsaid. What we conceal
Is always more than what we dare confide.
Think of the letters that we write our dead.

(Dana Gioia, from Interrogations at Noon, 2001 Graywolf Press)

Read more of his poems on his Web site.

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