For Immediate Release

Poet, Essayist & Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Dana Gioia to Speak in Chicago

March 21, 2005

Chicago—As part of National Poetry Month, The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, and The Union League Civic & Arts Foundation will host a public lecture by Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Dana Gioia on Monday, April 4. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and will take place at The Union League Club, 65 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago.

Poet, critic, and best-selling anthologist, Dana Gioia will speak on "Poetry in the Public Forum." He is one of America's leading men of letters. Winner of Poetry magazine's Frederick Bock Prize in 1985 and the Poets' Prize for his collection The Gods of Winter in 1991, Gioia is internationally recognized for his role in reviving rhyme, meter, and narrative in contemporary poetry. An influential critic, he has combined populist ideals and high standards to bring poetry to a broader audience.

For fifteen years Gioia worked as a business executive, eventually becoming a vice president of General Foods. Writing at night and on weekends, he also established a major literary reputation. In 1992 he left business to become a full-time writer.

Gioia has published three full-length books of poetry and has been an active translator of poetry from Latin, Italian, German, and Romanian. Although widely noted for his use of traditional forms, Gioia also writes in free verse—insisting that a poet should be able to use whatever style the work suggests. Widely anthologized and translated, he has been the subject of several critical books and monographs. Gioia's third collection of poems, Interrogations at Noon (2001), won the American Book Award. Reviewing the volume, British critic William Oxley praised Gioia as "probably the most exquisite poet writing today in English."

Best known to many as a critic, Gioia has been an active and outspoken literary commentator for over a quarter century. His essay, "Can Poetry Matter?", which first appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in 1991 and later in a collection of essays under the same title, ignited an international debate on the role of poetry in contemporary intellectual life.

Admission is free, but reservations are required. Space is limited. For tickets call The Civic & Arts Foundation at 312.435.5961.


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The Union League Civic & Arts Foundation develops and promotes programs that support education, civic responsibility, and the arts for children and young adults in the Chicago Metropolitan Area. Its programs target financial need and merit.

The Union League Civic & Arts Foundation's mission refers to all of the arts, including visual arts, short story writing, classical music, jazz improvisation, music composition and poetry. Its internally run cultural programs award young artists for their artistic talent and encourage them to develop their gifts and pursue their artistic goals. Its civic programs give support to the children and young adults by enhancing their education and literacy, assisting them through difficult times like divorce, and providing opportunities for inner-city high school students to enter military and college programs.

In 1949, with the spearheading influence of Dr. Edward Moss Martin (1895-1985), The Union League Civic & Arts Foundation was established as a public, not-for-profit charitable and educational organization. Its mission has always been one of community enrichment.

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It has embarked on an ambitious plan to bring the best poetry before the largest possible audiences. In the coming year, the Foundation will sponsor a recitation contest in the schools, a major new poetry website, and an unprecedented study to understand poetry's place in American culture.

Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Harriet Monroe's "Open Door" policy, set forth in Volume I of the magazine, remains the most succinct statement of Poetry's mission: to print the best poetry written today, in whatever style, genre, or approach. The magazine established its reputation early by publishing the first important poems of T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, H. D., William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, and other now-classic authors. In succeeding decades it has presented—often for the first time—works by virtually every significant poet of the 20th century.

Poetry has always been independent, unaffiliated with any institution or university—or with any single poetic or critical movement or aesthetic school. It continues to print the major English-speaking poets, while presenting emerging talents, in all their variety. In recent years, more than a third of the authors published in the magazine have been young writers appearing for the first time. On average, the magazine receives over 90,000 submissions per year, from around the world.

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