Rita Dove, UI Graduate 77MFA (Former Writers' Workshop Faculty)

Prize Work: Thomas and Beulah; Pulitzer Prize: 1987 Poetry

Rita Dove (born 1952) is an American poet.

Rita DoveAuthor Biography - Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952 as the daughter of the first African American research chemist who broke the race barrier in the tire industry. Her mother, Elvira Dove nee Hord, had been an honors student in high school and loved to read literature -- a passion her daughter would share with her early on.

A 1970 Presidential Scholar as one of the 100 top American high school graduates that year, Rita Dove graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. from Miami University in 1973 and received her MFA from the University of Iowa in 1977. In 1974/75 she held a Fulbright Scholarship at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen in Germany. She received the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry and served as Poet Laureate of the United States / Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress from 1993-1995; 1999/2000 she was Special Bicentennial Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress, and from 2004-2006 she was Poet Laureate of Virginia.

In 1993, at age 40, Dove was elected poet laureate of the United States, making her both the youngest and the first African American author to hold that position. As poet laureate she concentrated on spreading the word about poetry and increasing public awareness of the benefits of literature. Since 1989 she has been teaching at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she holds the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English.

Dove has received numerous literary and academic honors, among them 22 honorary doctorates, the 1996 National Humanities Medal / Charles Frankel Prize, the 1996 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities and, most recently, the 2006 Common Wealth of Distinguished Service Award for Literature. From 1994-2000 she was a senator of the national academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa, and she is currently a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Learn More About Dove's Prize Winning Work

Thomas and Beulah by Rita Dove

Book Description
Like snapshots in a photo album, Rita Dove’s award winning collection of poetry "Thomas and Beulah" provide glimpses into the lives of two people in love living together yet apart in an imperfect world. Dove mixes biographical, historical and social elements to create a journey of love, marriage, life and death in 1920's Middle America.

Browse The Book
Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
(Taken from Amazon.com)

An Interview with Rita Dove

In an June 1994 interview from The Academy of Achievement, Rita Dove discusses winning the Pulitzer, how she discovered her love for poetry, and her advice to aspiring writers.
(Video & Audio versions available)
Read the interview>>

Bibliography - Rita Dove

* The Yellow House on the Corner (1980)
* Museum (1983)
* Fifth Sunday(1985)
* Thomas and Beulah (1986)
* Grace Notes (1989)
* Through the Ivory Gate (1992)
* Selected Poems (1993)
* The Darker Face of the Earth (1994)
* The Poet's World (1995)
* Mother Love (1995)
* On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999)
* American Smooth (2004)

External links