born August 28, 1952
by Adiya Golden
My Black History Month vignette is about the African American poet and writer Rita Dove. She was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952. Her parents taught her the value of education at a young age, and she excelled in all her academic ventures. In high school, Rita was named a Presidential Scholar. From there, she went on to attend Miami University in Ohio. She received a Fulbright to study at the University of Tübingen in West Germany. Lastly, she earned her Masters of Fine Arts at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
As Poet Laureate, she served as the official poet of the United States which means she seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.
Rita Dove wrote many poems and works that received great praise. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her verse novel Thomas and Beulah. She also received the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Heinz Award in Arts and Humanities, and the Common Wealth Award. In 1996, she received a National Medal in Humanities. In 1993, she served as the Poet Laureate of the United States. She was the youngest poet and first African American Poet to be elected to this position. Now, Rita Dove teaches English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Rita Dove is an inspiration to people everywhere. She demonstrates how hard work and dedication can lead to a fulfilling life.
Rita Dove is not only important to African American history but all United States history. She was the first African American poet laureate and also the youngest to be elected to the honor. I found this interesting because I love poetry and literature. I read Rita Dove’s poem “Roast Possum,” during my literature class. This poem is important because it shows how the black man was put down by white for so long. Her poems are known for incorporating history and political themes into lyrical writings. Rita Dove’s writings and poems are important because they tell history from a different side and in a different way.
It is important to celebrate those who create, so in the future people can look to them for inspiration. Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio a city not too far from here. She shows how it does not matter what background you come from, everyone has something to contribute. Rita Dove is not usually someone mentioned when discussing Black History Month, but she has done so much for our country. As Poet Laureate, she served as the official poet of the United States which means she seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry. The arts in the United States are often viewed as nonimportant subjects, however, expressing creativity through poetry is beautiful. Through Rita Dove’s poetry and writings, readers get to see a different perspective through a creative outlet.