Biography of Rita Dove
Rita Frances Dove (born August 28, 1952) is an American poet and author. From 1993–1995 she served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She was the first African American to be appointed since the position was created by an act of Congress in 1986 out of the previous "consultant in poetry" position (1937–86). Dove also received an appointment as "special consultant in poetry" for the Library of Congress's bicentennial year from 1999–2000. Dove is the second African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, in 1987, and she served as the Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2004–2006.
Dove was born in Akron, Ohio to Ray Dove, the first African American chemist to work in the U.S. tire industry (as research chemist at Goodyear), and Elvira Hord, who achieved honors in high school and would share her passion for reading with her daughter. In 1970 Dove graduated from Buchtel High School as a Presidential Scholar, making her one of the 100 top American high school graduates that year. Later, Dove graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. from Miami University in 1973 and received her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1977. In 1974 she held a Fulbright Scholarship from Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany.
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Rita Dove Poems
"I Have Been A Stranger In A Strang...
It wasn't bliss. What was bliss but the ordinary life? She'd spend hours
After all, there's no need to say anything
In water-heavy nights behind grandmother's porch We knelt in the tickling grasses and whispered:
"Teach Us To Number Our Days&Quot;
In the old neighborhood, each funeral parlor is more elaborate than the last.
Heart To Heart
It's neither red nor sweet.
I could pick anything and think of you— This lamp, the wind-still rain, the glossy blue
Lady Freedom Among Us
Don't lower your eyes or stare straight ahead to where
Shirtsleeved afternoons turn toward leather as the trees
Velvet fruit, exquisite square I hold up to sniff between finger and thumb -
The Secret Garden
I was ill, lying on my bed of old papers, when you came with white rabbits in your arms;
Just when hope withers, the visa is granted. The door opens to a street like in the movies,
Billie Holiday's burned voice had as many shadows as lights,
As if the lid stayed put on the marmalade. As if you could get the last sip of champagne
I love the hour before takeoff, that stretch of no time, no home
I made it home early, only to get
stalled in the driveway-swaying
at the wheel like a blind pianist caught in a tune
meant for more than two hands playing.
The words were easy, crooned
by a young girl dying to feel alive, to discover
a pain majestic enough
to live by. I turned the air conditioning off,
leaned back to float on a film of sweat,