Picture of author.

Rita Dove

Author of Selected Poems

34+ Works 2,224 Members 24 Reviews 6 Favorited

About the Author

Rita Dove, former Poet Laureate of the United States, is the recipient of many honors, among them the Pulitzer Prize, the National Humanities Medal, and the Heinz Award. Among her recent publications are the poetry collection On the Bus with Rosa Parks and the drama The Darker Face of the Earth. show more She is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia show less
Image credit: Dove in December 2017 By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64542050

Works by Rita Dove

Selected Poems (1993) 339 copies
Thomas and Beulah (1986) 264 copies
The Best American Poetry 2000 (2000) — Editor — 212 copies
Mother Love: Poems (1995) 179 copies
Sonata Mulattica: Poems (2009) 112 copies
Grace Notes: Poems (1989) 111 copies
American Smooth: Poems (2004) 101 copies
Collected Poems: 1974-2004 (2016) 87 copies
Museum: Poems (1983) 31 copies

Associated Works

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story (2021) — Contributor — 1,297 copies
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 901 copies
The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry (1990) — Contributor — 736 copies
Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934) — Foreword, some editions — 412 copies
Contemporary American Poetry (1962) — Contributor, some editions — 380 copies
The Best American Poetry 2004 (2004) — Contributor — 197 copies
The Art of Losing (2010) — Contributor — 191 copies
The Best American Poetry 2003 (2003) — Contributor — 170 copies
African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song (2020) — Contributor — 162 copies
American Religious Poems: An Anthology (2006) — Contributor — 160 copies
Erotique Noire/Black Erotica (1991) — Contributor — 156 copies
This Is My Best: Great Writers Share Their Favorite Work (2004) — Contributor — 155 copies
Poetry Speaks Expanded: Hear Poets Read Their Own Work from Tennyson to Plath (2007) — Advisory Editor; Contributor — 147 copies
The Vintage Book of African American Poetry (2000) — Contributor — 140 copies
Emergency Kit (1996) — Contributor, some editions — 107 copies
The 100 Best African American Poems (2010) — Contributor — 95 copies
Life Notes: Personal Writings by Contemporary Black Women (1994) — Contributor — 78 copies
The Best American Poetry 2014 (2014) — Contributor — 74 copies
Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series (2015) — Contributor — 72 copies
Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths (1684) — Contributor — 68 copies
The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink (2012) — Contributor — 62 copies
Memory of Kin: Stories About Family by Black Writers (1990) — Contributor — 61 copies
Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin (2016) — Contributor — 53 copies
Sisterfire: Black Womanist Fiction and Poetry (1994) — Contributor — 45 copies
The Best American Poetry 2021 (2021) — Contributor — 44 copies
"Harlem Gallery" and Other Poems of Melvin B. Tolson (1999) — Introduction — 33 copies
Birds in the Hand: Fiction and Poetry about Birds (2004) — Contributor — 32 copies
60 Years of American Poetry (1996) — Contributor — 28 copies
Selected Poems (1968) — Translator — 27 copies
Good Roots: Writers Reflect on Growing Up in Ohio (2006) — Contributor — 22 copies
Bittersweet (1998) — Contributor — 10 copies
Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky (2016) — Contributor — 3 copies
Between Paradise & Earth: Eve Poems (2023) — Contributor — 1 copy


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Dove, Rita
Legal name
Dove, Rita Frances
Other names
DOVE, Rita Frances
DOVE, Rita
Akron, Ohio, USA
Places of residence
Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Miami University of Ohio (BA)
University of Iowa (MFA)
Eberhard Karls University
Academy of American Poets
Fellowship of Southern Writers
Awards and honors
Charles Frankel Prize (1996)
Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award (1986)
Pulitzer Prize in Poetry ( [1987])
Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (1993-1995)
National Humanities Medal (1996)
Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities (1996) (show all 20)
NAACP Great American Artist Award
Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia (2004-2006)
Emily Couric Leadership Award (2003)
Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award (2001)
Sara Lee Frontrunner Award (1997)
Phi Beta Kappa
Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service (2006)
Chubb Fellow at Yale University (2007)
Library of Virginia's Lifetime Achievement Award (2008)
Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal (2009)
Premio Capri (2009)
National Metal of Arts (2012)
Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize (2022)
National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (2023)
Short biography
Rita Dove is the author of several books of poetry. A former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Dove also served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she teaches at the University of Virginia. [2013]



Delightful. Sonnets, exploring Demeter and Persephone, I loved every thought.
Kiramke | Jun 27, 2023 |
These are powerful poems, some about public figures, some deeply personal. I truly appreciated Ms. Dove's end notes because I often understood that I was reading about an important historical event or person, but couldn't quite place it. I was happy to be educated.

The book is broken into six sections. While I found meaning throughout, my favorite sections were "After Egypt" (with poems such as "Elevator Man, 1949") and "Little Book of Woe" (about her MS diagnosis; "Soup" is perhaps my favorite in this collection). And don't skip the book's intro, "Prose in a Small Space." It sets the tone.

Playlist for the Apocalypse was an NPR, NYT, and Publishers Weekly best book of 2021 and also won the 2022 Library of Virginia Literary Award for Poetry. I can see why. It's not that Dove writes about life-changing events, big and small, but how she writes about them. And thank goodness she does. As summed up in "Climacteric":

"...If loving every minute spent jostling syllables / while out in the world others slog through their messes / implies such shuttered industry is selfish or irresponsible // then I'm the one who's fled. Ta-ta! I'm not ashamed; / each word caught right is a pawned memory, humbly reclaimed."
… (more)
DonnaMarieMerritt | 3 other reviews | Apr 16, 2023 |
Poetry's not my "go-to" genre unless it's accompanied by a 2x4 whacked against my head to help me uncover the underlying message. But maybe I'm not sampling the good stuff. Reading Rita Dove was like growing up on Two Buck Chuck and suddenly winning an all-expenses vacation to Napa Valley. Show me someone else writing:

"Who are these children?
Who had them and with whom?
Through the general coffee tones
the shamed genetics cut a creamy swathe.
Cherokee's burnt umber transposed
onto generous lips, a glance flares gray
above the crushed nose we label
Anonymous African: It's all here,
the beautiful geometry of Mendel's peas
and their grim logic--"

I read most of my books from the library. This is a purchase because I keep coming back to it. Powerful!
… (more)
Cam_Torrens | 3 other reviews | Mar 17, 2023 |
Favorites to come back to: Family Reunion, Mirror, Keep Your Storied Pomp
ACLopez6 | 3 other reviews | Feb 25, 2023 |



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