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Dana Gioia On The Enchantment of Poetry And American Literary Culture

American poet and writer, Dana Gioia, joins the Federalist Radio Hour.


Dana Gioia, an American poet and writer, joined the Federalist Radio Hour to explain his unconventional style of poetry, his response to his academic critics, and why poetry has seemed to disappear from American culture. Gioia was previously the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and his newest book is 99 Poems: New and Selected.

Gioia said there is a paradox at the center of American literary culture. “There have never been so many people in human history who are paid to profess poetry and yet poetry seems to speak to the smallest in a possible group of people,” he said. “In fact, most of the audience for today’s poetry, are other professional poets.”

Gioia explains his writing process and the way his experiences have shaped his writing. “I think a poem is an enchantment. You try to create a magic spell with words and the sound of the words that takes somebody and puts them in a state of heighten attention and heightened vulnerability, yourself included,” he said.

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