Dana Gioia Leaving the NEA

Dana Gioia, the controversial chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts is stepping down from his position so he can get back to writing poems. Well, good for him.

People didn't always agree with his politics and policies but under Gioia's watch, the NEA introduced a wide array of programs that brought arts, literacy, and culture to the forefront of the general public.

Great programs like Shakespeare in American Communities, The Big Read - encouraging urban communities to read classic works of literature, and the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest - a contest that gets high school students to memorize and perform poems out loud, and much, much more.

In a time when the US was ready to cut down costs on arts and culture, Gioia and the NEA convinced everyone that the arts were a vital part of America.

Now if only someone like Gioia could convince Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the rest of the folks cutting all the arts funding in Canada that they're making a big mistake...

Gioia, I know you want to get back to writing poems again, but how about taking a trip to the Great White North?

More from The New York Times, and a funny piece from The Onion (I think THIS is the real reason Gioia's stepping down...)

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