The U.S. Senate recently confirmed Dana Gioia for his second four-year term as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). President Bush reappointed Gioia to the position last September.
Gioia’s books include the poetry collection Interrogations at Noon (Graywolf, 2001) and the essay collection Can Poetry Matter?: Essays on Poetry and American Culture (Graywolf, 1992). During his first term he oversaw the publication of the "Reading at Risk" report, which revealed a dramatic decline in the number of serious readers of literature in America, and The Big Read, an initiative that provided funding to literary organizations in cities across the country to promote reading and literature in American culture.
The Senate also confirmed six new presidential appointees to the National Council on the Arts, which advises the NEA on funding decisions that provide grants to artists and arts organizations. The appointees include Bret Lott, the author of the novel Jewel (Pocket Books, 1991) and editor of the Southern Review, as well as a movie executive, an artistic director, a percussionist, an arts coordinator, and an arts patron.