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February 4, 1994

Poet Laureate Rita Dove Accepts Second Term

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced today that Rita Dove has accepted his invitation to serve a second year as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.

The Librarian said "Rita Dove has given us more ideas for elevating poetry in the nation's consciousness than there is time to carry out in one year. Impressed by her enthusiasm and energy, we at the Library of Congress anticipate with much pleasure what she will be able to accomplish in a second year as Poet Laureate. We know that she has exciting plans for next year, and we look forward to working with her to bring as many of them to fruition as possible." Asked to comment on her decision to accept a second term, Ms. Dove replied, "I had some fairly large ideas of things I wanted to get done. One year just wasn't enough. We are planning an environmental symposium for Earth Day. We'll get all types of people together, not just writers: scientists, artists, maybe even politicians. I also have some plans for a 'Poetry Town Meeting' using television to reach children in schools and rural areas. We need to show that the audience for poetry is not just people who study it all their lives."

Ms. Dove began her term as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry with a reading to open the Library's 1993-1994 literary season on October 7, 1993. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1987 for her work Thomas and Beulah. Other books of poetry include Selected Poems, Grace Notes, Museum, and The Yellow House on the Corner. Her works of fiction are a novel, Through the Ivory Gate, and a collection of stories, Fifth Sunday. She is currently Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.

Ms. Dove has been very active during her first term as Poet Laureate. She has made many public appearances, given countless interviews, and greatly increased the diversity of poets and writers featured in Library's series of free live readings. As a result, the size of audiences attending the readings has increased substantially. Born in Akron, Ohio, in 1952, Ms. Dove was a 1970 Presidential Scholar as one of the 100 best high school graduates in the U.S. that year. She graduated summa cum laude from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, attended the Universitat Tubingen (Germany) as a Fulbright fellow, and received her Master of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa. She lives in Charlottesville, Va., with her husband, the German writer Fred Viebahn and their daughter, Aviva.

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PR 94-029
2/4/94
ISSN 0731-3527

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