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 ... more »
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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
"Teach Us to Number Our Days"
In the old neighborhood, each funeral parlor is more elaborate than the last.
In water-heavy nights behind grandmother's porch We knelt in the tickling grasses and whispered:
Velvet fruit, exquisite square I hold up to sniff between finger and thumb -
Heart to Heart
It's neither red nor sweet.
Shirtsleeved afternoons turn toward leather as the trees
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,
I love the hour before takeoff, that stretch of no time, no home
Lady Freedom Among Us
Don't lower your eyes or stare straight ahead to where
Ludwig Von Beethoven's Return to Vienna
So when my proud city spread her gypsy skirts, I reentered;
Fifth Grade Autobiography
I was four in this photograph fishing with my grandparents at a lake in Michigan.
November for Beginners
Snow would be the easy way out—that softening
Quotationsmore quotations »
''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).
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"I have been a stranger in a strange land"
It wasn't bliss. What was bliss
but the ordinary life? She'd spend hours
in patter, moving through whole days
touching, sniffing, tasting . . . exquisite
housekeeping in a charmed world.
And yet there was always
more of the same, all that happiness,
the aimless Being There.
So she wandered for a while, bush to arbor,
lingered to look through a pond's restive mirror.
He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.
That's when she found the tree,...