Dana Gioia - Poet Laureate of California
Poet Dana Gioia reveals the inspiration for his new poem The Ballad of Jesus Ortiz.
Dana Gioia is a man with a mission: to take poetry to the whole state, reading his own work and listening to other poets’ and students, in all its 58 counties. He lives on an isolated hilltop and writes in a studio resembling a barn, lined with his 6,000 books. Sometimes, when he needs to get away, he works in a beautiful hut, with just a table and a stove, overlooking the hills and the oaks. He takes the BBC’s Julian May to these places and reveals the inspiration of a major new poem, The Ballad of Jesus Ortiz, and the surprisingly physical way he is working on it. There is, however, grave danger, from wildfires that are threatening to destroy his studio-barn, his writing hut, and his home.