A Celebration of Poetry Featuring Dana Gioia
Saturday, April 15, 6:30 p.m.
Join California poet laureate Dana Gioia, former head of the National Endowment for the Arts, and Bay Area authors for a celebration of California poetry. In honor of National Poetry Month, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference will host an evening of readings and discussion of the role of poetry in our communities.
Dana Gioia is the author of five full-length collections of poetry as well as Can Poetry Matter?, which helped to revive the role of poetry in American public culture. As Chairman of the NEA from 2003 to 2009, Gioia garnered bi-partisan support in the United States Congress and strengthened the national consensus in favor of public funding for the arts and arts education. (Business Week magazine referred to him as “The Man Who Saved the NEA.”)
A wine reception at 6:30 p.m. will precede the program, which will begin at 7 p.m., at the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College in St. Helena.
There is a suggested $20 donation for admission, payable at the door. The event is part of the Arts Council Napa Valley‘s Arts in April celebration.
Dana Gioia is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet. Former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Gioia is a native Californian of Italian and Mexican descent. He received a B.A. and a M.B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. Gioia currently serves as the State Poet Laureate of California.
Gioia has published five full-length collections of poetry, most recently 99 Poems: New & Selected. His poetry collection, Interrogations at Noon, won the 2002 American Book Award. An influential critic as well, Gioia’s 1991 volume Can Poetry Matter?, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, is credited with helping to revive the role of poetry in American public culture. In 2014 he won the Aiken-Taylor Award for lifetime achievement in American poetry.
As Chairman of the NEA from 2003 to 2009, Gioia succeeded in garnering enthusiastic bi-partisan support in the United States Congress for the mission of the Arts Endowment, as well as in strengthening the national consensus in favor of public funding for the arts and arts education. Gioia’s creation of a series of NEA National Initiatives combined with a wider distribution of direct grants to reach previously underserved communities making the agency truly national in scope. Through programs such as Shakespeare in American Communities, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, NEA Jazz Masters, American Masterpieces, and Poetry Out Loud, the Arts Endowment has successfully reached millions of Americans in all corners of the country.
In 2011 Gioia became the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California, where he teaches each fall semester.
Iris Jamahl Dunkle
Iris Jamahl Dunkle is the current Poet Laureate of Sonoma County, the untold history of which is the subject of her second poetry collection, There’s a Ghost in this Machine of Air, published in November 2015 by Word Tech Editions. Her debut poetry collection, Gold Passage, won the 2012 Trio Award and was published by Trio House Press in 2013. Dunkle received her B.A. from the George Washington University, her M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University, and her Ph.D. in American Literature from Case Western Reserve University. She serves as Assistant Poetry Director of the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference and teaches writing and literature at Napa Valley College.
Caroline Goodwin was born and raised in Alaska and moved to California in 1999 to attend Stanford as a Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry. Her books are Trapline (2013), Peregrine (2015) and The Paper Tree (2017). From 2014 – 2016 she served as the first Poet Laureate of San Mateo County; she teaches at California College of the Arts and the Stanford Writer’s Studio.
Rachel Richardson is the author of two books of poetry, Copperhead (2011) and Hundred-Year Wave (2016), both selections in the Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Wallace Stegner Program at Stanford University. Her poetry and prose appear in The New York Times, Guernica, New England Review, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. She earned an MFA from the University of Michigan and an MA in Folklore from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has taught creative writing to elementary school kids, incarcerated adults, and university students around the country. She currently teaches in the MFA program at University of San Francisco. She is the co-founder, with David Roderick, of Left Margin Lit.
David Roderick writes the poetry column State Lines for the San Francisco Chronicle. His first book of poems, Blue Colonial, won the APR/Honickman Prize and was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2006. The Pitt Poetry Series published his second collection, The Americans, in 2014. David’s writing has been awarded a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, the Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship, and the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize. He has taught creative writing and literature classes at Stanford, the University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and most recently at the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is the co-founder, with Rachel Richardson, of Left Margin Lit.
Beclee Newcomer Wilson
Napa County Poet Laureate Beclee Newcomer Wilson is the author of four collections of poetry, the most recent of which, Reflections, was released in February. Arthur Sze called her 2012 collection, Winter Fruit, “a moving suite of elegiac poems attuned to empty spaces, to love, to passage of time, to what endures.” She has taught poetry and communications courses at Mills College and the University of California at Berkeley, among others, as well as in Napa County elementary schools. Wilson received her B.S. from Northwestern University, her M.S. from the University of Michigan, and her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.