Topic: Rita Dove
Recorded: July 24, 2021
Shannon hosts the discussion on the well-known modern American poet Rita Dove. Playing “devil’s advocate,” Shannon asks, “Do award-winning poets write amazing poetry—consistently?” Perhaps you’ve wondered this yourself while reading a famous poem? If you remove the famous name from the poem, is it still a “good” poem? Dove’s poem “Rusks” appears on all the top ten list of her best poems. Poetry Club tackles it line by line. Does it hold up or fizzle? Listen to find out.
Rita Frances Dove (b. August 28, 1952) Born in Akron, Ohio, U.S., as an American poet and essayist. From 1993 to 1995, she served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She has the distinct honor of being the first African American and the youngest person to serve as poet laureate of the United States (1993–95). In 2018 she was named poetry editor of The New York Times Magazine.
President Bill Clinton bestowed upon her the 1996 National Humanities Medal, and President Barack Obama presented her with the 2011 National Medal of Arts, making her the only poet who has received both medals.
“There are so many casual pleasures in Ms. Dove’s poetry that the precision and dexterity in her work — the darkness, too — can catch you unawares.
Ms. Dove’s poems have earthiness, originality, power, and range. Despair and loss are among her central themes, but so is the hunt for bedrock human pleasures.”
-Dwight Garner, for the New York Times, May 31, 2016
All poems copyright by Rita Dove.
Please visit her webpage at the UVA to learn more: https://uva.theopenscholar.com/rita-dove
Poetry Club Talks… is produced by Chickadee Productions