Rita Dove (1970, OH)

Rita Dove, a 1970 Presidential Scholar from Ohio, served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995 and as Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. She has received numerous literary and academic honors, among them the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the 1996 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Clinton and the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Obama (which made her the only poet ever with both the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts). A 2007 Chubb Fellow at Yale University and 2009 recipient of the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, she has 25 honorary doctorates to her credit, most recently from Yale.

Born in Akron, Ohio in 1952, Rita Dove received her B.A. summa cum laude from Miami University and her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa, after a Fulbright year in Tübingen, Germany. She has served as president of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and as a chancellor of the honor society Phi Beta Kappa, and she is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among her numerous books are, most recently, the poetry collections Sonata Mulattica (winner of the 2010 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award) and Collected Poems 1974-2004 (a finalist for the 2016 National Book Awards and winner of the 2016 NAACP Image Award in Poetry); she also edited The Penguin Anthology of 20th-Century American Poetry. Her song cycle Seven for Luck, with music by John Williams, was premiered by the Boston Symphony, and her 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, among other venues.

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