Rita Dove Biography

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BIOGRAPHY: Rita Dove’s life has been filled with success and many outstanding accomplishments. According to Poetry Foundation, Rita Dove was born August 28, 1952 in Akron, Ohio. Her father, Ray A. Dove, was “one of the first black chemists in the tire industry” and her mother was Elvira Hord (The New York Times). Her parents highly encouraged her to read, learn about literature, and continuously study, for which her love for poetry and music originates from a young age. She composed plays, poetry, and stories throughout her childhood. Rita Dove excelled in school, she played cello in her high school orchestra, led her high school’s drum majorette team, and graduated top of her class at Buchtel High School. In 1970, she was one of the top one…show more content…
Her poetry takes a common incident or ordinary person and given a structure that is not a plain recitation of facts, poems that “skillfully combine biography and history” (325). She has stated in an interview with M. Wynn Thomas in 1995, her works have been influenced by Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wright, and James Wright. Dove is also asked often about her influences other than writers and repeats that she is “obsessed with” what she calls the “underside of history”. In the interview with M. Wynn Thomas, Dove said that the “underside of history” is the “dramas of ordinary people - the quiet courage of their actions, all which buoy up the big events” (The Swansea Review). Dove believes “putting these private events” alongside historical events makes the personal and historical equally important. This is seen in one of her most famous works, Thomas & Beulah, which focus on her maternal grandparents.With being a successful poet, Dove has created throughout her works, whether a poem or a play gives “the experience of connectedness [which] gives pleasure, even if what it is connecting us to is a moment of grief” (Arizona Board of Regents). Dove is able to “weave African-American experience into the broader perspective of international culture reflecting drama, commitment to social justice and sensitivity to women's issues” (qtd from The Library of Congress). Dove is a contemporary poet able to create dramatic pieces out of serious topics easy and enjoyable to
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