Cape Cod, Massachusetts
|Genre||Poetry, lyric essay, essay|
John D’Agata (born in 1975 on Cape Cod, Massachusetts) is an American essayist. He received MFAs in both poetry and nonfiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His books include Halls of Fame , About a Mountain, The Lifespan of a Fact, and the anthologies The Next American Essay and The Lost Origins of the Essay.
Halls of Fame is a collection of experimental nonfiction that ranges in subject matter from the outsider artist Henry Darger to modernist choreographer Martha Graham to Deep Springs College, the experimental all-male school in eastern California where D'Agata was a student. [David Foster Wallace] described the book in a review by saying "In nothing else recent is the compresence of shit and light that is America so vividly felt and evoked," and calling D'Agata "one of the most significant U.S. writers to emerge in the past few years." About a Mountain is a book-length lyric essay about the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. Charles Bock in the New York Times Book Review called the book "unquestionably art, a breathtaking piece of writing". The Lifespan of a Fact, a real-life exchange between D'Agata and his one-time fact-checker, Jim Fingal, illustrates their heated seven-year battle over a single essay by D'Agata that was ultimately published in The Believer magazine. In the book, D'Agata and Fingal discuss whether it is appropriate to change facts in writing that is both nonfiction and art.
D'Agata is also the editor of two essay anthologies, The Next American Essay and The Lost Origins of the Essay, and has served as the lyric essay editor at the literary journal Seneca Review since 1997.
He has received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Howard Foundation. D'Agata teaches creative writing at The University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA.
- Halls of Fame (Graywolf Press, 2003)
- About a Mountain (W.W. Norton, 2010)
- The Lifespan of a Fact (with Jim Fingal) (W.W. Norton, 2012)