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Rita Dove

Poet

Rita Dove is a highly respected poet who currently holds the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia. A 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner for her collection Thomas and Beulah, Dove became the youngest and first African American Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant in Poetry in 1993. Her numerous scholarly accomplishments also include serving as a White House Presidential Scholar and a Fulbright Scholar. On February 13, 2012, Dove was honored by President Obama with the 2011 National Medal of Arts.

Dove has authored several books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed On the Bus with Rosa Parks and Sonata Mulattica. Ms. Dove is also a playwright, and has provided text for music compositions. Most recently, she was the sole editor of The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry.

In addition to her writing and editing talent, Dove also enjoys ballroom dance, has received classical voice training, and plays the viola da gamba, a 17th century instrument related to the cello.  In 2012, she and Bill Moyers shared a “Moyers Moment” when they read a poem from the Penguin Anthology together.