Rita Dove

From Ohio History Central
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Rita Dove. Reprint permitted with byline only and with customary fee and copy or tear sheet to F. Viebahn, 1757 Lambs Rd., Charlottesville, VA 22901

Rita Dove is an American poet, author and educator.

Rita Dove was born on August 28, 1952, in Akron, Ohio. In 1973, she graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a degree in English. She soon emerged as one of the leading poets in the United States.

Dove published her first book of poems, The Yellow House on the Corner, in 1980. She has followed this work with several other anthologies, including Museum (1983), Thomas and Beulah (1986), Grace Notes (1989), Selected Poems (1993), Mother Love (1995), On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999), and American Smooth (2004). For Thomas and Beulah, Dove won a Pulitzer Prize in 1987. She was only the second African-American poet to win this award.

Among her other well-known works are Fifth Sunday, a book of short stories, the novel Through the Ivory Gate, and the verse drama, The Darker Face of the Earth.

Dove has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1978 and 1989), the Guggenheim Foundation (1983-84) and the National Humanities Center (1988-89). She is a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. Among her other more prominent awards are the 1986 Lavan Younger Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets, the 1987 General Electric Foundation Award, the 1988 Ohio Governor's Award in the Arts, "Literary Lion" medals from the New York Public Library in 1990 and 1996, and the "Library Lion" medal in 2000. In 1993 Dove became Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress. She was the youngest person and the first African American to receive this honor.

Dove also has taught creative writing and English courses for a number of years. From 1981 to 1989, she taught at Arizona State University. Since 1989, she has taught at the University of Virginia.

See Also