November 13, 2012

Dana Gioia: The Interview

Photo by Lynda Koolish
Gioia in person: I had the pleasure of interviewing Dana Gioia, poet and literary force. He was a delight. Our conversation covered his extraordinary career that ain't over yet, by any means, and moved into questions about his new job as the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California, Dana's candid discussion of self-actualization and Maslow's Pyramid, his views on American culture, his love of film and the poems that appear in films both high-brow and low and all the in-between.

Here's a footnote on our discussion of poetry in film and, do expect an essay on this subject from Gioia in the near future: I saw the record breaking James Bond film Skyfall this past weekend, when it broke a few records, I suspect. And guess what? Judi Dench as the marvelous "M" quoted Tennyson:

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. —the closing lines of Tennyson's "Ulysses"

On the show, Gioia hypnotized us with his reading of "Pity the Beautiful" from his new book by that title.

Listen to the live interview by clicking on Rare Bird Radio, my show that I do weekly and where I talk with the famous, the emerging and the fascinating and where literature, narrative, the stories of our lives and culture are my focus. The topic on the table is creativity. Do join the conversation.

I hope that all who visit here will join my Goodreads Book Club where all the interviews can be heard and where the book shelf is filled with the author's books. You will find there Dana's new book of poems and his groundbreaking essays Can Poetry Matter?  

More on Dana can be found on his richly linked website.

My thanks to the incredible, joyful and whip-smart Gioia!