*Starred Review* Almost as parsimonious at publishing his work as Henry Taylor (four collections in 40 years), Gioia gives us his fourth collection 25 years after the first, Daily Horoscope, and, like Taylor, makes every collection worth the wait. At the book’s center is “Haunted,” a story of relaxed blank verse in which a man explains how he came to be a monk. Completely absorbing, it has its confrere in the four-stanza “Being Happy,” which also focuses on a youthful love affair. Another on the same theme is the incompletely end-rhymed “Cold San Francisco” (known as a champion of formal verse, Gioia often rhymes strategically and musically, however, rather than strictly). Verging upon light verse but eschewing the merely funny are “The Seven Deadly Sins” and “Pity the Beautiful.” A little heavier are the bittersweet meditation on mortality, “Finding a Box of Family Letters”; the bold satire, “The Freeways Considered as Earth Gods”; and the serious parody of the Beatitudes, “Prayer at Winter Solstice.” Two poems recalling the poet’s greatest personal tragedy, “Special Treatments Ward” and “Majority,” close the second and fifth sections of the book. Finally, setting the Americanism of Gioia’s own work in relief are translations of poems by two modern Italians, Mario Luzi and Bartolo Cattafi. Great riches in remarkably few pages. --Ray Olson
"In his best poems, Gioia rises to the occasion of all great poetry: to immortalize our experience by submitting it to the test of tradition and inspiration."
--Thomas D'Evelyn, The Christian Science Monitor
“Gioia concerns himself with every aspect of his craft: its traditions, its movements toward and away from rhyme and meter, and its ancient roots in the sound of the human voice . . . Gioia is clearly a poet whose words are heard, whose positions ignite debate, whose work constantly and unflinchingly searches out new ways to counter what he calls 'our sentimental, upbeat age.'” --from the American Book Award citation for Interrogations at Noon
“Dana Gioia's poems always reveal his narrative ease and naturalness of diction; he's partly an old-fashioned storyteller and partly a metaphysical poet of reflection and devotion. From his very first book, which was published twenty-five years ago, he's always been considered one of this country's most accomplished formal masters.” --David St. John