The Sewanee Review is proud to announce that Dana Gioia is the recipient of this year’s Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry. Dana 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. Read more about Gioia and the award on the Sewanee Review website.
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.
Dana Gioia’s poetry, criticism and arts advocacy have earned him a swath of formal affirmations. 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. 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 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.
All are welcome to attend the Aiken Taylor Award presentation at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, in Convocation Hall. Vice-Chancellor John McCardell will present the award to poet Dana Gioia, followed by a reading by Gioia and a reception. Poet David Mason (Colorado College) will give a lecture on Gioia’s poetic career at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the McGriff Alumni House, also followed by a reception. At both events there will be opportunities to purchase books.