Dana Gioia is the Poet Laureate of California. He is the author of five collections of poetry, including Interrogations at Noon (2001), which won the American Book Award, Pity the Beautiful (2012), and 99 Poems: New & Selected (2016). He has also published three collections of criticism, most notably Can Poetry Matter? (1992), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Award. For six years (2003-2009) Gioia served as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts where he gained strong bipartisan support for the previously imperiled agency and helped launch the largest literary programs in federal history, including The Big Read, Poetry Out Loud, and Shakespeare in American Communities. He was twice unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. In 2011 Gioia became the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California. He has been awarded eleven honorary doctorates and many awards, including the Laetare Medal from Notre Dame, the Presidential Civilian Medal, and the Aiken-Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry.