California Arts Council

State of California

Poet Laureate

Education Through Music - LAGovernor Edmund G. Brown Jr. appointed Dana Gioia as California Poet Laureate on December 4, 2015.

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"I believe that poetry is for everyone," said Gioia. "It is not a remote or intellectual art. Poetry is our most concise, expressive, and memorable way of using words, and it can play a powerful role in schools and civic life. I am honored to become poetry's public servant in California."

Dana Gioia, of Santa Rosa, has been the Judge Widney professor of poetry and public culture at the University of Southern California since 2011.Gioia was born in Hawthorne, California, the son of a Sicilian father and a Mexican mother. He attended Junipero Serra High School in Gardena and became the first person in his family to attend college. As chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 to 2009, Gioia launched several nationwide programs to expand public support for the arts and for arts education, with a focus on fostering youth creativity and expression.

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The California Poet Laureate is a Governor's appointee whose mission is to advocate for the art of poetry in classrooms and boardrooms across the state, to inspire an emerging generation of literary artists, and to educate all Californians about the many poets and authors who have influenced our great state through creative literary expression.

Over the course of a two-year term, the Poet Laureate provides public readings in urban and rural locations across California, educates civic and state leaders about the value of poetry and creative expression, and undertakes a significant cultural project, with one of its goals being to bring poetry to students who might otherwise have little opportunity to be exposed.