February 24, 2010
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove, the country’s first African-American poet laureate, will read at Tulane University’s McAlister Auditorium on Monday, March 8 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. After the reading, Dove will sign copies of her book.
The author of nine critically acclaimed collections of poetry, Dove has also published fiction, drama and an essay collection, The Poet’s World. In addition, she collaborated with composer John Williams, providing lyrics for the song cycle Seven for Luck and teamed with him for a dramatic reading at “America’s Millennium,” the White House’s New Year celebration in 2000.
Dove won the Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for her poetry collection Thomas and Beulah, which places the lives of her grandparents in a richly vivid historical context. When Dove was elected poet laureate of the United States in 1993, she was both the first African-American and the youngest person to hold the position. The librarian of Congress called her “a younger poet of distinction and versatility … [and] an outstanding representative of a new and richly variegated generation of American poets.”
The New Yorker described her 2009 collection Sonata Mulattica – which explores the life of biracial violin prodigy George Bridgetower, who inspired Beethoven’s famous Kreutzer Sonata – as “a virtuosic treatment of a virtuoso’s life.”
Among Dove’s numerous awards are the Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award, the Fulbright Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Medal, and Virginia's Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service, which she shared in 2006 with Anderson Cooper, John Glenn and Queen Noor of Jordan.
Rita Dove’s visit is the third, following appearances by Louise Glück and Billy Collins, in Tulane’s Poet Laureate Series, which is sponsored by the Creative Writing Fund of the Department of English. Since its establishment in 2006, the Creative Writing Fund has enhanced literary programming both at Tulane and in New Orleans, presenting readings and talks by renowned writers such as Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Joan Didion and – in April 2010 – Carlos Fuentes.
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