Dove, Rita

Dove, Rita,

1952–, American poet, b. Akron, Ohio. Her first poetry collection, Ten Poems, was published in 1977. Her verse is at once concise, precise, and evocative. History as seen from an African-American perspective is perhaps her most important theme: the history of her country, as in the slavery poem sequence of The Yellow House on the Corner (1980), and the history of her own family, as in the Pulitzer Prize–winning volume Thomas and Beulah (1986), her grandparents' life story in verse. In her many collections, Dove also writes compellingly of mother-daughter relations, e.g., Mother Love (1995), everyday life, travel, and the aesthetic experience itself. From 1993 to 1995 she was U.S. poet laureate, the first African American to hold the post. An English professor at the Univ. of Virginia, Dove has also written short stories, a play, and a novel.

Dove, Rita

(1953–  ) poet; born in Akron, Ohio. She began writing verse as a youngster but only became serious about poetry while attending Miami University, Ohio. She studied a year in Germany (her husband, Fred Viebahn, was a German playwright/novelist), then earned an M.F.A. at the University of Iowa. She joined the English faculty at the University of Virginia (1989). Her poetry—such as the 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winning Thomas and Beulah —and her novels—such as Through the Ivory Gate (1992)—blend the lyrical and personal with the precise and the contemporary, and although she tended not to write explicitly about her African-Americanness, her work drew on that experience in subtle ways. In 1993 she became the first African-American poet laureate of the Library of Congress.