The Judge & Typewriter
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Today, I missed Aesthetics (although I told my professor I would be absent) so I could sit and listen to a talk given by Dana Gioia, current head of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of Mr. Gioia because my camera went dead. But he did sign my copy of his book Disappearing Ink.
I soon left afterwards and returned to MJ's office, where I dug around on the internet for more information about this man of letters and public service. That's when I found the above quote from an Atlanta Journal Constitution article about the demise of typewriters. I don't know why, but I kind of thought it a counterpoint to Mr. Gioia's 1991 book-length essay, "Can Poetry Matter?" Back then, the book raised this art's ghostly specter as if it no longer seemed to have any raison d'etre in today's world. At the time, poetry seemed to be at death's door, retreating into either the world of street, cowboy, or the academian towers--where coded reams of creative writing programs and peer-reviewed journals dwelt.
Of course he had to write that essay, he was then living the life as undercover artist--seller of jello by day and poet by night. But I digress, because I'm happy to say that poetry has kind of recovered, brought back to the hands of everyman/woman. It is this very recovery which he writes about in his book, which he signed for me saying Best wishes, signed in permanent ink.
Aside from being asked to come speak, I believe he was also here on a promotional road trip for a new community NEA reading program called, "The Big Read," which is being rolled out in May. As he signed my book, I asked if he had contacted Dave Eggers about his 826 Valencia Street writing project for children. He said he would be meeting with him in conjunction with the Big Read program. I think there can be great synergy created by these two ideas coming together and hope all the bilingual kinks get worked out so that it is a success.
It is funny that this should even be needed. On XM's BBC Radio, we've been listening to readings of the short list for the BBC's World Service Short Story Competition. These are wonderful, exotic stories that are read by excellent actors/readers. I hope they publish the stories with a CD because there are a few I would like to listen to again, especially "One Night in Bangkok" by Tracey Martin (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), which was a runner-up in the competition.
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