Rita Dove

P.O. Box 400121 University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4121

Author's Bio

Rita Dove is a former U.S. Poet Laureate (1993-1995) and recipient of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Thomas and Beulah. The author of numerous books, most recently Sonata Mulattica (2009) and Collected Poems 1974-2004 (2016), she also edited The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2011). Her drama The Darker Face of the Earth premiered in 1996 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and was produced at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as well as the Royal National Theatre in London, among other venues. In 1998 the Boston Symphony debuted her song cycle "Seven for Luck", with music by John Williams, under the composer's baton. Among Rita Dove's many honors are the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Obama, the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Clinton, and 25 honorary doctorates, most recently from Yale University. She is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.

Publications and Prizes

Prizes Won: 
Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, 1987; Poet Laureate of the United States, 1993-1995; Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 2004-2006; National Humanities Medal (presented by President Bill Clinton), 1996; National Medal of Arts (presented by President Barack Obama), 2011; “Literary Lion” medal, New York Public Library, 1990; Woman of the Year Award, Glamour magazine, 1993; Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, 1996; Kennedy Center Award for New American Plays, 1996; Sara Lee Frontrunner Award, 1997; 1997 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, 1997; “Library Lion” medal, New York Public Library, 2000; Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award, 2001; Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service, 2006; The Chubb Fellowship at Yale University, 2007; Library of Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award, 2008; Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, 2009; Premio Capri (Italy), 2009; Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, 2010; Furious Flower Lifetime Achievement Award, James Madison University, 2014; Carole Weinstein Prize in Poetry, Library of Virginia, 2014; The 10th Poetry & People International Prize for Poetry, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China, 2015; John Oliver Killens Lifetime Achievement Award, Medgar Evers College, 2016; Stone Award for Lifetime Achievement, Oregon State University, 2016; and 25 honorary doctorates. 

More Information

Listed as: 
Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
African American
Fluent in: 
English, German
Born in: 
Akron, OH
Raised in: 
Akron, OH
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Last updated: Feb 27, 2017