Thursday, July 24, 2014

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Poet Dana Gioia Named CUA Commencement Speaker

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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