Rita Dove

1996

A Pulitzer Prize winner Rita Dove served as Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1993-95.  Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952. Her father was the first research chemist to break the race barrier in the tire industry in the 1950s. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in 1973, and studied for a year on a Fulbright Scholarship at Universitat Tubingen in Germany.  She then joined the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, where she earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in 1977.

While a graduate student at Iowa, she met her husband, the German writer Fred Viebahin. Their daughter, Aviva, was born in 1983. Dove presently holds the chair as Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia. She and her family live in Charlottesville.

She has published six volumes of poetry: The Yellow House on the Corner (1980),Museum (1983), Thomas and Beulah (1986), Grace Notes (1989), Selected Poems (1993), and Mother Love (1995). She has also published a collection of short stories, Fifth Sunday (1985), the novel Through the Ivory Gate (1992), the verse drama The Darker Face of the Earth (1994), and essays under the title The Poet’s World (1995).

Rita Dove won the Pulitzer Prize for Thomas and Beulah, a collection of interrelated poems loosely based on her grandparents’ lives.

Reflecting on a conversation Dr. Rashid had with Ms. Dove on the eve of of her guest appearance at Margrove, Dr. Rashid said, "Having studied and taught the works of Rita Dove, I found it to be both a pleasure and an honor to meet her in person. Her public presence is commanding, yet inviting and warm."  Dr. Rashid added that Ms. Dove’s poem, "Flashcards" is an important piece, reflecting Dove’s central perspective for most of her works, "that which you don’t understand, master."

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