Michael Dana Gioia (ˈdʒɔɪ.ə; born December 24, 1950) is an American poet and writer. He spent the first fifteen years of his career writing at night while working for General Foods Corporation. After his 1991 essay "Can Poetry Matter?" in The Atlantic generated international attention, Gioia quit business to pursue writing full-time. He served as the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) between 2003 and 2009. Gioia has published five books of poetry and three volumes of literary criticism as well as opera libretti, song cycles, translations, and over two dozen literary anthologies. Gioia is the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California, where he now teaches. In December 2015 he became the California State Poet Laureate. He currently divides his time between Los Angeles and Sonoma County, California.