Rita Dove

Rita Dove received the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for Thomas and Beulah and served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1993–1995. Spanning forty-plus years with translations on all continents, her oeuvre includes many genres; besides her numerous poetry collections – most recently Playlist for the Apocalypse – she has authored short stories, essays, the novel Through the Ivory Gate, and the song cycles Seven for Luck (1998, music by John Williams) and A Standing Witness (with composer Richard Danielpour, premiered by Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Susan Graham in 2021). Her award-winning play, The Darker Face of the Earth, had successful runs at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Kennedy Center in Washington and the Royal National Theatre in London. She also edited The Penguin Anthology of 20th-Century American Poetry and has been a poetry columnist for The Washington Post’s Book World and poetry editor of The New York Times Magazine.
Dove’s career is studded with accomplishments: the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, a Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, an NAACP Image Award, a Glamour Woman of the Year designation, two New York Public Library Lion medals, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, the 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, and 29 honorary doctorates from universities such as Harvard, Duke and Yale. The American Academy of Arts and Letters presented her with its 2021 Gold Medal in Literature, making her the third female and first African-American poet in the medal’s 110-year history. Furthermore, she is the only poet who received both the National Humanities Medal (from President Clinton) and the National Medal of Arts (from President Obama).
From 1981 to 1989 Rita Dove was a faculty member of Arizona State University’s English Department in Tempe, rising from assistant to full professor in just six years. Since 1989 she has been teaching at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she is the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing.