Poet-Librettist-Translator Dana Gioia Confirmed as NEA Chairman

News   Poet-Librettist-Translator Dana Gioia Confirmed as NEA Chairman Dana Gioia, President George W. Bush's choice for chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts, was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on Jan. 29.

Gioia will assume office in early February. He is currently in California completing a book of literary essays and an opera libretto.

The poet, critic and teacher Gioia (pronounced JOY-uh) replaces the current acting chairman Eileen B. Mason. Senior Deputy Mason took on the duties when NEA Chairman Michael P. Hammond died suddenly in January, a week after being sworn in.

Gioia's numerous credits in varying fields of the arts include his 1991 book "Can Poetry Matter?," his recurring commentary on literature and culture for BBC Radio and his classical music critiques for San Francisco magazine. Trained in music, the nominee has seen his work set to music from a full-length theatrical work called Counting the Children to the Alva Henderson-composed opera "Nosferatu" to which he wrote the libretto.

The educator, with a B.A. and M.B.A. from Stanford University and a M.A. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University, has taught at Johns Hopkins University, Sarah Lawrence College and Wesleyan University. As a translator, he has published Italian Nobel Prize winner Eugenio Montale's poetry in "Motteti" and Senecca's The Madness of Hercules, which was performed by Verse Theater Manhattan in New York City.

The National Endowment for the Arts provides funding for many non profit arts organizations through grants. For the 2001 fiscal year, the NEA granted over $92 million to organizations in Arts Education, Dance, Design, Folk and Traditional Arts, Literature, Local Arts Agencies, Media, Multidisciplinary, Museums, Music, Musical Theater, Opera, Presenting, Theater and Visual Arts. The current budget for 2002 is $115 million. For more information on the NEA and grants applications, visit www.nea.gov.