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Contemporary culture has discarded the concept of beauty in both art and philosophy. It is not a word much used nowadays, even by art critics, except ironically.  But the absence of beauty as a positive concept has left a hole in our thinking—not only in art and philosophy but also in education, politics, worship, and civic life. And its absence has doomed much of what we do in the public sector to failure. 

In this strikingly illustrated talk, poet Dana Gioia examines the idea of Beauty in both its secular and sacred dimensions. He not only defines beauty but shows its importance in understanding ourselves and the world. Ultimately, he demonstrates that the rehabilitation of beauty as both a concept and a value is necessary to rebuild our culture, our churches, and society.

Dana Gioia is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet. Former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Gioia is a native Californian of Italian and Mexican descent. He received a B.A. and a M.B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. Gioia has published five full-length collections of poetry, as well as eight chapbooks. His poetry collection, Interrogations at Noon, won the 2002 American Book Award. An influential critic as well, Gioia’s 1991 volume Can Poetry Matter?, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, is credited with helping to revive the role of poetry in American public culture. In 2014 he won the Aiken-Taylor Award for lifetime achievement in American poetry.

Photo by Forest Starr and Kim Starr via Creative Commons

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