The title poem of Dana Gioia’s Daily Horoscope is a six-page elegy dedicated to the memory of Robert Fitzgerald, the distinguished poet and translator who was Gioia’s teacher at Harvard. In the beginning of the poem, Fitzgerald is presented to us entirely stripped of his literary identity. Addressing Fitzgerald throughout the sequence as “you,” Gioia places his subject amidst the “unimportant” things in life, things “not worth counting, not worth singling out”:
Today will be like any other day.
You will wake to the familiar sounds
of the same hour in the same room,
sounds which no alarm is needed to announce.
Gioia then proceeds to restore Fitzgerald’s uniqueness. He gives us a glimpse of his mentor’s ability to discover, in the mundane world around him, the possibility...