Rita Dove has said, “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” Born in Akron, Ohio in 1952, she received her B.A. from Miami University of Ohio and earned her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop. In 1993 Dove was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States, the first African American to hold this title. She has published several books of poetry, a novel, a collection of short stories, and the play The Darker Face of the Earth, which premiered in 1996 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Dove has also participated in numerous television and radio programs, among them narrating a National Public Radio program on jazz great Billie Holiday and a three-part PBS documentary on Southern literature called Tell About the South. Dove is a professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.