Born in California into a Sicilian Mexican family, Dana Gioia has been one of the key figures in American poetry since the 1980s. His prominence is due not only to his widely read and influential poetry, but also to his activities as a critic and public intellectual, including his role as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts between 2003 and 2009. In the past two years, two volumes have appeared that celebrate Gioia's achievements while providing insight into both his poetry and the driving force behind his public commitment to the arts. These volumes work well in complementarity as a general portrait of Gioia's work. If Brennan's Colosseum Critical Introduction presents the books of poetry through close readings in chronological order, Zheng's Conversations sheds light on Gioia's poetics and opinions in his own words, collecting almost three decades of interviews dating from 1992 to 2019.

Brennan's volume, almost...

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