Dana Gioia and the Future of the Catholic Literary Imagination.
Here's the beginning of the piece:
Dana Gioia is a poet and critic who served as chair-man of the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the author, most recently, of “Pity the Beautiful,” his fourth volume of poems.
He also has a genius for connecting people. To that end, he’s spearheaded a conference called “The Future of the Catholic Literary Imagination” that will take place at the University of Southern California Feb. 19-21.
Sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at USC, the conference will feature Julia Alvarez, Ron Hansen, Alice McDermott, Kevin Starr, Tobias Wolff and Gioia himself, as well as “many more leading writers, critics, scholars, editors and journalists — young and old, Catholic and non-Catholic — in a dynamic, serious (but never pious) conversation about the relationship between faith and literature in contemporary American culture.”
I had the chance to sit down with Dana recently, and we discussed Catholic literature and his place in it.
You were born and raised in a blue-collar family in Hawthorne, Calif. How did your own Catholic literary imagination first catch fire?
I was raised in a Catholic family in a mostly Mexican neighborhood and attended 12 years of Catholic school. Consequently, my whole early worldview was Catholic, and it seemed consonant with the great art I encountered — Dante, Michelangelo, Mozart, Shakespeare. The creative vision of these artists was reinforced by their spiritual vision. Those early experiences shaped my sensibility. Art without a metaphysical dimension still feels diminished to me.
READ THE REST OF THIS RIVETING INTERVIEW HERE!
|palm trees ringed with white lights|
grand park, downtown l.a.
i like to imagine the trees CARE.