Rita Dove was raised in West Akron. This is what she told former Akron Beacon Journal columnist David Giffels in 2004:
"There's a rhythm there I feel comfortable with, and reading to the home crowd, I love," she said. "When I come home to Akron, I'm Rita that grew up down the street."
In 1987, 17 years removed from her Buchtel High School graduation, Dove won the Pulitzer Prize for Thomas and Beulah, a poetry collection that drew from her grandparents' life in Akron. In 1993, during Bill Clinton's presidency, she began a two-year term as Poet Laureate of the United States and consultant to the Library of Congress, the first African-American to hold the title. Her biography is fat with literary and academic awards.
Her lastest work, Sonata Mulaticca, is a narrative collection of poems published last spring by W.W. Norton centered on the life of biracial violin prodigy, George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower. The violinist performed for Thomas Jefferson, was a student of Haydn and a friend of Beethoven, who initially dedicated the Kreutzer Sonata to Bridgetower. Although Bridgetower was critically acclaimed in his time, he had faded into the footnotes. One of poetry's great powers is remembering.
Here's Dove giving and interview on New York Public Radio on Nov. 24, 2009 about Sonata Mulaticca.
Here's the New York Times review of Sonata Mulaticca, which was published on April 2, 2009.
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