''We tend to be so bombarded with information, and we move so quickly, that there's a tendency to treat everything on the surface level and process things quickly. This is antithetical to the kind of openness and perception you have to have to be receptive to poetry. ... poetry seems to exist in a parallel universe outside daily life in America.''Rita Dove (b. 1952), U.S. poet. As quoted in the New York Times, sect. 4, p. 7 (June 20, 1993).
''Billie Holiday's burned voiceRita Dove (b. 1952), African American poet and fiction writer. "Canary," lines 1-4 and last line (1989). Billie Holiday (1915-1959) was a great African American jazz singer with a tragic personal life.
had as many shadows as lights,
a mournful candelabra against a sleek piano,
the gardenia her signature under that ruined face.
If you can't be free, be a mystery.''
''Everybody who's anybody longs to be a tree''Rita Dove (b. 1952), U.S. poet and fiction writer. "Horse and Tree," line 1 (1989).
''Everyone waiting here was once in love.''Rita Dove (b. 1952), U.S. poet and fiction writer. "Old Folk's Home, Jerusalem," last line (1989).
''They were masculine toys. They were tall wishes. They were the ribs of the modern world.''Rita Dove (b. 1952), U.S. poet and fiction writer. "Silos," last paragraph of the prose poem (1989).
''On the day that will always belong to you,Rita Dove (b. 1952), U.S. poet and fiction writer. "Your Death," lines 1-6 (1989).
lunar clockwork had faltered
and I was certain. Walking
the streets of Manhattan I thought:
Remember this day. I felt already
like an urn, filling with wine.''
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Just when hope withers, the visa is granted.
The door opens to a street like in the movies,
clean of people, of cats; except it is your street
you are leaving. A visa has been granted,
'provisionally'-a fretful word.
The windows you have closed behind
you are turning pink, doing what they do
every dawn. Here it's gray. The door
to the taxicab waits. This suitcase,