Celebrating Poet Rita Dove - National Council of Teachers of English
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Celebrating Poet Rita Dove

August 28 is the birthday of American poet Rita Dove, who reportedly told Black American Literature Forum,“There’s no reason to subscribe authors to particular genres. I’m a writer, and I write in the form that most suits what I want to say.”

Dove won the Pulitzer Prize for her third book of poetry, Thomas and Beulah, in 1987 and was US Poet Laureate 1993–95. She received the National Humanities Medal from President Clinton and the National Medal of Arts from President Obama—the only poet ever to receive both. Her many honors include a 2017 NAACP Image Award (for Collected Poems: 1974–2004), the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, and the Academy of American Poets’ Wallace Stevens Award. Rita Dove is the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. Her eleventh collection of poetry, Playlist for the Apocalypse, is forthcoming from W. W. Norton later this summer.

Learn more in Rita Dove, US Poet Laureate: A Resource Guide.

In February, NCTE joined with the Library of Congress for the webinar “Teaching Poetry: A Conversation with Rita Dove.” View the slides and the archived webinar from this wonderful discussion.

Check out this NCTE Verse post for a whole treasure chest full of lesson plan and teaching ideas related to the works of Rita Dove.

The post “Teaching Rita Dove” shares three poems for all levels (upper elementary to high school.) It’s important to remember to teach living poets!


Curious about the NCTE and Library of Congress connection? Through a grant announced by NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick, NCTE is engaged in ongoing work with the Library of Congress, and “will connect the ELA community with the Library of Congress to expand the use of primary sources in teaching.” Stay tuned for more throughout the year!

It is the policy of NCTE in all publications, including the Literacy & NCTE blog, to provide a forum for the open discussion of ideas concerning the content and the teaching of English and the language arts. Publicity accorded to any particular point of view does not imply endorsement by the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, the staff, or the membership at large, except in announcements of policy, where such endorsement is clearly specified.