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Exploring the humanities

Photo by Lynda Koolish (via

Dana Gioia, award-winning poet and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), will engage the Northeastern community this week over three days of interdisciplinary programming, through the Humanities Center’s Artists and Practitioners-in-Residence Program.

As NEA chairman, Gioia is credited with rebuilding bipartisan support for the agency, and launching new programs such as Shakespeare in American Communities, in which theater companies perform nationwide and educate youth. He has published three full-length collections of poetry, as well as eight chapbooks. His poetry collection, “Interrogations at Noon,” won the 2002 American Book Award. He is also a professor at the University of Southern California.

“In the last decade, no one has done more to advance the cause of poetry, the arts, critical literacy and public culture in America than Dana Gioia,” said Georges Van Den Abbeele, founding dean of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.

On Wednesday evening, Gioia will read from his upcoming publication, “Pity the Beautiful” and converse with an audience at 305 Shillman Hall as part of the “Encountering the Humanities” lecture series.

Over the next three days, campus events will also include a conversation with Gioia to reflect on the role of poetry in American culture, a class for writers of all levels that explores the craft of poetry and a “Meet the Author” event hosted by University Libraries.

“Listening to Dana read poetry out loud is a joy,” said Erika Koss, assistant dean for research and program development in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. “His own poetry is full of surprising images and themes, and he always recites several of his favorite poems by heart. I dare anyone who thinks they don’t like poetry to make that claim after an evening with Dana Gioia.”

For more information and a full list of events, visit