Rita Dove served as Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant to the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995 and as Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth 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 and the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Clinton. In 2010 she received the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Most recently she received the 2016 Stone Award for Lifetime Achievement.
President Barack Obama presented her with the 2011 National Medal of Arts, which made her the only poet with both the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts to her credit. To date, 25 honorary doctorates have been bestowed upon Rita Dove, most recently by Yale University.
She has published the poetry collections The Yellow House on the Corner (1980), Museum (1983),
Thomas and Beulah (1986), Grace Notes (1989), Selected Poems (1993), Mother Love (1995), On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999), American Smooth (2004), Sonata Mulattica (2009) and Collected Poems 1974-2004 (2016), a book of short stories, Fifth Sunday (1985), the novel Through the Ivory Gate (1992), essays under the title The Poet's World (1995), and the play The Darker Face of the Earth, which was produced at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Rita Dove holds the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
© Fred Viebahn