Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dana Gioia; poet and public intellectual

In 2003, Dana Gioia walked onto the battlefield that was the National Endowment for the Arts and brokered a peace. He chaired the NEA for six years, longer than the Civil War. The George W. Bush appointee increased the agency's budget and worked to broaden its mission and demographic reach. Gioia is a widely published poet and essayist, a Stanford MBA and a Southern Californian who's come home, as professor of poetry and public culture at USC, whence all of California is a stage.

What's on your USC to-do list?

One thing that interests me is how a young artist makes a living in the U.S. I want to teach a class about, if you are a musician who wants to create a string quartet, a writer who wants to create a press or journal, how do you do it? The poet Donald Hall described himself as a one-man vertical conglomerate, a wonderful phrase. I'd like to encourage young artists to become a one-man or one-woman vertical [conglomerate].

Read More: LA Times article:,0,7799944.column

Friday, November 4, 2011

It rained in LA

And Angelenos have never before been so friendly. A man offered me the protection of his oversized umbrella, admitting he had in fact borrowed it from a coworker. The rain pushed strangers to crowd together at the covered lunch tables at the Whole Foods in Westwood. My impromptu lunch partner said she enjoyed watching the rain since she spent most of her day as a nurse in surgery rooms. Though the man who pulled a u-turn in front of me on Sunset may not have heard of hydroplaning. Luckily my Pittsburgh upbringing taught me how to handle ice and rain.