Poet Dana Gioia has been named commencement speaker for The Catholic University of America's 2013 Commencement Ceremony on May 18.
Gioia began his writing career as a marketing executive for General Foods Corporation, where he composed a successful advertising campaign for Jell-O. Between 1977 and 1979 he worked as literary editor of Inquiry Magazine, and as poetry editor between 1979 to 1983. In 1992, he resigned from General Foods to write full-time and to serve as vice-president of the Poetry Society of America.
In 2003, Gioia was named the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. During his six-year tenure at the NEA, he focused on increasing the appreciation for jazz, Shakespeare, and classical literature in the United States. As a result, he was dubbed “The Man Who Saved the NEA” by Business Week.
During a 2011 CUA lecture, Gioia spoke of the declining influence of Catholicism in literature.
“Once you remove religion … you don’t remove the hungers of the artists or the audience. You replace them with something superficial,” Gioia said. “For every true artist, a problem presents a possibility. If we learn nothing else from the lives of the saints, we should know the power their work had to change their age.”
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