The Sewanee Review announced that Dana Gioia is the recipient of this year’s Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry. Mr. Gioia, known for his poetry, criticism and arts advocacy, holds the newly-created Judge Widney Chair in Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California.
Mr. Gioia’s poetry, criticism and arts advocacy have earned him a swath of formal affirmations. Mr. Gioia has been the recipient of 11 honorary degrees and numerous awards, including the Laetare Medal from Notre Dame. His widely-praised third collection of poems, Interrogations at Noon, won the American Book Award. Mr. Gioia’s critical collection, Can Poetry Matter? Essays on Poetry and American Culture, was chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of the “Best Books of 1992.” This volume also became a finalist for the 1992 National Book Critics Award in Criticism. In 1995, Mr. Gioia co-founded with Michael Peich the West Chester University summer conference on “Exploring Form and Narrative,” which is now the largest annual poetry-writing conference in the U.S.
Read more about Mr. Gioia on the Sewanee Review website (http://www.sewanee.edu/sewanee_review/aiken_taylor).
The public is invited to attend the Aiken Taylor Award presentation at 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19, in Convocation Hall on the University of the South campus. University Vice-Chancellor John McCardell will present the award to Mr. Gioia, followed by a reading by Gioia and a reception. Poet David Mason (Colorado College) will give a lecture on Mr. Gioia’s poetic career at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the McGriff Alumni House at Sewanee, also followed by a reception. At both events there will be opportunities to purchase books.
Through the generosity of Dr. K.P.A. Taylor, 28 years ago the Sewanee Review established an annual award honoring a distinguished American poet for the work of a career. Howard Nemerov was the first poet honored and was followed by Richard Wilbur, Anthony Hecht, and W. S. Merwin. The other recipients of this important prize (which cannot be applied for) include Gwendolyn Brooks, Wendell Berry, Donald Hall, Louise Glück, Billy Collins, William Logan, and Debora Greger.