Pity the Beautiful

Pity the Beautiful
Dana Gioia

"It is his first collection in more than a decade, and I have no hesitation in declaring it to be his finest to date . . . These poems in which sentiment is refined by technical prowess, and simple words combine to make music and meaning merge marvelously and memorably."—Best American Poetry
“[Gioia’s poems] speak of sin, prayers, prophecy, virtues, and grace. . . . Whatever their form, these poems have a musical quality. Ultimately, Gioia’s poems come alive and sing on the page.”—National Review

About the Book

The long-awaited fourth collection by one of America's foremost poets
O Lord of indirection and ellipses,
ignore our prayers. Deliver us from distraction.
Slow our heartbeat to a cricket's call.
--from “Prophecy”
Pity the Beautiful is Dana Gioia's first new poetry book in over a decade. Its emotional revelations and careful construction are hard won, inventive, and resilient. These new poems show Gioia's craftsmanship at its finest, its most mature, as they make music, crack wise, remember the dead, and in a long, central poem even tell ghost stories.

Additional Reviews

"A slim but powerful volume infused with melancholy and hope. . . . Technically accomplished, thematically relevant, lyrically beautiful, this collection is definitely top shelf."—The Monitor

“Dana Gioia excels at writing poetry that is accessible to general readers, in the colloquial tradition of Robert Frost, Richard Wilbur and Billy Collins. Pity the Beautiful, coming 10 years after the Poet’s Prize-winning collection The Gods of Winter, speaks in a relevant voice of today within the formal verse structures of the past. . . . [Gioia] lets his far-reaching interests pull us into poems of simple grace, gentle irony and comfortable form.”—Shelf Awareness

Dana Gioia's long-awaited collection of new poems is a gentle stunner. As varied in subject and voice as these verses are, each reflects a reverence and kindness that is rare in modern writing of any form. The elegance of the poems' rendering is remarkable.”Huffington Post
"Much of Dana Gioia's poetry might be set in the contemporary world, but a host of ancient, mythic references echo in the speakers' voices and the scenes they present to readers. . . . Gioia sounds an elegiac note as he considers lost loved ones, growing older and the daily frustrations that cause us to yearn for something more transcendent."—Los Angeles Times

"Clearly one of the best poets, if not the best poet of our age, Gioia writes of love, loss, illness, memories, the power of nature, and human frailty with wisdom, humor, and the artist's eye." —Rapportage
"Today, every serious poet or reader knows Dana Gioia's name. But what about the Dana Gioia who emerges in his poetry? This other Dana Gioia—meditative, private, preoccupied with time and loss—returns with his fourth book, Pity the Beautiful, an understated collection of deep feeling and great skill. . . . [Gioia's] is a quiet, thoughtful voice steeped in the deepest human questions—a voice with ties to Elizabeth Bishop, Weldon Kees, and Robert Frost. The fierce intelligence and compassion of Gioia's work are rarely equaled. . . This inescapably funny public man remains a private poet whose work is sensitive, darkly funny, smart, and certain to prove lasting." —Italian Americana

"Dana Gioia's Pity the Beautiful is another breathtaking collection from one of America's most skilled and insightful living poets. Read the collection all the way through and memorize a few lines—they are well worth remembering. These poems help sort out the tricky business of life in a world that is both sacred and profane, beautiful and ambiguous."—Englewood Review of Books

"Magnificent. . . . [Gioia] is indeed one of today's masters of the genre, headed, ever more clearly, for whatever kind of immortality, in these prosaic times, awaits the best poets—those whose voices are unmistakable, whose visions have helped shape the way we make sense of the world, and whose lines and images continue to haunt us years after we first encountered them."—The Hudson Review

"The 32 poems [in Pity the Beautiful] manage to soar toward the tip of heaven while remaining firmly grounded in the daily lives and loves of real and imaginary people who populate his poetic earth."—The Catholic World Report

"Gioia employs traditional form expertly. Taking on subjects such as lost love, solitude, family, and the natural world, Gioia proves himself to be, as St. John writes, 'partly an old-fashioned storyteller and partly a metaphysical poet of reflection and devotion.'"—American Poet

"[Gioia] finds art . . . in the heartbreaks that regularly come upon human beings."—Christian Century
“[Pity the Beautiful] is marked by a religious sensibility skeptical of romantic overreaching and trusting in the potential of meter and form to raise clear, ordinary language to another power. . . . The poems in Pity the Beautiful present the pathos of their own limits, how aestheticized memory and desire point to mysteries beyond themselves.”Harvard Review