Biography (Critical Survey of Poetry: American Poets)
Dana Gioia was born Michael Dana Gioia in Los Angeles, the first of four surviving children of Michael Gioia, a cabdriver and shoe-store owner, and Dorothy Ortiz Gioia, a telephone operator. One of his brothers, Ted Gioia, became a major jazz critic. The Gioia family was Sicilian, with most members living in the same neighborhood. Gioia’s mother was of Mexican heritage, and thus Gioia grew up in a multilingual context, one that heightened his sense of language. When he won a scholarship to Stanford University, Gioia for the first time left behind both the security and the provincialism of a tight family structure. Gioia originally intended to study music, but his love of literature and his distaste for atonality directed him back to English, for which he was awarded a B.A. in 1973. Gioia then left to study comparative literature at Harvard.
Although his work with Robert Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Bishop at Harvard confirmed his resolve to write poetry, Gioia became increasingly distressed at the direction that literary studies were taking in the academy; accordingly, he left Harvard with an M.A., having completed his Ph.D. course work, and returned to Stanford, in 1977 earning an M.B.A. degree. It was also at Stanford that he met Mary Hiecke, whom he married in 1980. After receiving his M.B.A., Gioia moved to New York and worked in business, eventually becoming a vice president of Kraft-General Foods. Though he was writing poetry and criticism regularly,...
(The entire section is 606 words.)
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Biography (Poetry for Students)
Michael Dana Gioia was born on December 24, 1950, in Los Angeles, California, to a tightly knit family headed by his Italian father, Michael, and his Mexican American mother, Dorothy. His father was a cabdriver and store owner, and his mother was a telephone operator. Gioia rose from these humble beginnings through the academic world by earning a scholarship to Stanford University and obtaining a bachelor of science with honors there in 1973, as well as winning an award for the best senior essay. He went on to earn two master's degrees, one from Harvard University in 1975, where he studied with the poets Robert Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Bishop, and one from Stanford University in 1977.
Gioia's initial course of study was music, but he soon turned to literature. At Stanford, he had book reviews published in the Stanford Daily and served as editor of the campus literary magazine, Sequoia. His time at Harvard helped him cement his poetic aspirations, but he began to doubt whether academia was the best place to foster his talents. As a result, after completing course work for a PhD, but without finishing the degree, he left for Stanford Business School.
After graduation, Gioia joined General Foods Cooperation and made his way up the corporate structure, first as manager of business development...
(The entire section is 493 words.)