<i>Money is a kind of poetry.</i>
- Wallace Stevens
Money, the long green,
The flowers sent here by mistake,
signed with a name that no one knew,
are turning bad. What shall we do?
Our neighbor says they're not for her,
So much of what we live goes on inside–
The diaries of grief, the tongue-tied aches
Of unacknowledged love are no less real
For having passed unsaid. What we conceal
Now you hear what the house has to say.
Pipes clanking, water running in the dark,
the mortgaged walls shifting in discomfort,
and voices mounting in an endless drone
The world does not need words. It articulates itself
in sunlight, leaves, and shadows. The stones on the path
are no less real for lying uncatalogued and uncounted.
The fluent leaves speak only the dialect of pure being.
How much better it seems now
than when it is finally done–
the unforgettable first line,
the cunning way the stanzas run.
I can imagine someone who found
these fields unbearable, who climbed
the hillside in the heat, cursing the dust,
cracking the brittle weeds underfoot,
This is the hall of broken limbs
Where splintered marble athletes lie
Beside the arms of cherubim.
Nothing is ever thrown away.
All afternoon my brothers and I have worked in the orchard,
Digging this hole, laying you into it, carefully packing the soil.
Rain blackened the horizon, but cold winds kept it over the Pacific,
And the sky above us stayed the dull gray
Dana Gioia is an American poet, writer, and critic, born on December 24, 1950, in Los Angeles, California. He is known for his poetry, essays, and advocacy for literature and the arts. There are titles about Dana Gioia poems and biography.
Dana Gioia is an American poet and literary critic, who served as the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 to 2009. Here are some of Dana Gioia's most famous poems:
"The Gods of Winter"
This poem explores the beauty and power of winter, but also its potential for danger and destruction. The imagery is vivid and striking, and the poem's themes of mortality and the passage of time are universal.
"Prayer" is a simple but powerful poem about the power of prayer to help us find peace and meaning in life. The poem is structured around a series of questions and answers, and its language is simple but deeply moving.
"The Ballad of Jesus Ortiz"
This poem tells the story of a young man from a poor background who becomes a successful boxer, but ultimately finds that his success cannot bring him happiness. The poem explores themes of social class, ambition, and the search for meaning in life.
"Planting a Sequoia"
This poem is a powerful meditation on loss and grief. It tells the story of a man who plants a sequoia tree in memory of his infant son, who has died. The poem's imagery is vivid and haunting, and its themes of love, loss, and the natural world are universal.
"Words" is a poem about the power of language to shape our understanding of the world. The poem explores the idea that language is not just a tool for communication, but a fundamental aspect of human experience. The poem's language is rich and evocative, and its themes are universal and deeply resonant.
Overall, Dana Gioia's poetry is known for its clarity, directness, and emotional depth. His work explores universal themes of love, loss, and the search for meaning in life, and his language is rich and evocative, with a keen eye for detail and a deep appreciation of the natural world.
"Insomnia" is a poem by Dana Gioia that explores the experience of sleeplessness and the sense of isolation and disorientation that it can bring. The poem is structured around a series of vivid images and sensory details that convey the speaker's sense of frustration and unease.
The poem begins with a description of the speaker's surroundings: "Now you hear what the house has to say." This line suggests that the speaker is attuned to the sounds and rhythms of the house around them, and that their sleeplessness has heightened their sensory awareness. The following lines describe the sounds of the night: "Pipes clanking, water running in the dark,/ the soft breathing of the sleeping dog." These sounds are both comforting and unsettling, and they suggest a sense of disorientation that is characteristic of insomnia.
As the poem progresses, the speaker's thoughts turn to more abstract and philosophical themes: "What is this house, / What is this self I have grown into?" These questions suggest a sense of existential anxiety, as the speaker reflects on their place in the world and the meaning of their existence. The use of the word "grown" suggests a sense of development and change over time, and the poem implies that the experience of insomnia has brought the speaker to a new level of self-awareness.
The final stanza of the poem returns to the theme of sensory experience, as the speaker imagines the sound of rain falling outside: "In this life we walk through dark rooms, /and the man who laughs is the one who has not /yet unmasked the stranger." This image suggests that the speaker is aware of the presence of the unknown and the unfamiliar in their life, and that the experience of insomnia has made them more sensitive to the mysteries and uncertainties of the world.
Overall, "Insomnia" is a poem that explores the themes of sleeplessness, disorientation, and existential anxiety. Through its use of vivid imagery and sensory detail, the poem conveys the sense of isolation and vulnerability that can come with the experience of insomnia, while also suggesting that this state of heightened awareness can lead to new insights and self-discovery.
Dana Gioia is an American poet, writer, and critic. He was born in Los Angeles, California in 1950, to a family of Italian and Mexican heritage. Gioia attended Stanford University, where he earned degrees in English and Comparative Literature. After graduation, he worked as a corporate executive for several years, but eventually left the business world to pursue a career in writing.
Gioia's first book of poetry, "Daily Horoscope," was published in 1986. Since then, he has published several other books of poetry, including "The Gods of Winter" (1991), "Interrogations at Noon" (2001), and "99 Poems: New & Selected" (2016). Gioia's poetry is known for its clarity, emotional depth, and engagement with both traditional and contemporary forms.
In addition to his work as a poet, Gioia is also an influential literary critic and cultural commentator. He has written essays and reviews for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic Monthly. His 1991 essay, "Can Poetry Matter?", is widely regarded as a landmark critique of contemporary poetry and its place in American culture.
From 2003 to 2009, Gioia served as the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, where he was an advocate for increased public support for the arts and worked to promote the role of poetry in American culture. He has also served as the California Poet Laureate, and is currently a professor of poetry and public culture at the University of Southern California.
Overall, Dana Gioia's work as a poet, critic, and cultural commentator has made him one of the most important figures in contemporary American literature. His poetry and essays are widely read and studied, and his advocacy for the arts and the role of poetry in American culture has had a profound impact on the literary community.
"Thanks for Remembering Us" is a poem by Dana Gioia that expresses gratitude to a former lover who, years after their relationship has ended, has sent a message to acknowledge and remember their shared past. The poem is structured around the speaker's response to this message, and its language is simple but deeply heartfelt.
The poem begins with the speaker's expression of surprise and gratitude upon receiving the message from their former lover: "The card arrived/ just as I was leaving town." The timing of the message is significant, as it suggests that the speaker is on the verge of moving on from their past, but the message serves as a reminder of the emotional significance of that past.
The speaker's gratitude is expressed through a series of vivid images that evoke the pleasures of shared experiences and the pain of separation: "The seal was broken/ by my mother's hands, and the paper/ still warm from your fingers, fell open/ like a secret that was better left unspoken." The image of the "secret" suggests that the speaker's feelings for their former lover are still powerful, but that they have been hidden away for some time.
As the poem progresses, the speaker reflects on the emotional impact of their former lover's message: "I realized then how much/ I had missed you, how the emptiness/ had quietly grown inside of me." The use of the word "emptiness" suggests that the speaker has been struggling with a sense of loss and isolation, and that the message has helped to alleviate some of that pain.
The poem concludes with the speaker's expression of gratitude to their former lover for remembering them: "Thanks for remembering us, for the card/ that brought back the summer." The use of the word "us" suggests that the speaker still feels a strong connection to their former lover, and that the shared memories of their past have helped to bridge the distance between them.
Overall, "Thanks for Remembering Us" is a poem about the power of memory and the emotional significance of past relationships. Through its use of vivid images and simple but heartfelt language, the poem expresses a sense of gratitude and connection that transcends the passage of time.