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Public contact: Poetry and Literature Center (202) 707-5394/5

August 3, 2004

Former Poet Laureate Rita Dove to Read from Her New Book at the Library of Congress on Sept. 30

Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and 1993-1995 Poet Laureate at the Library of Congress, will read from her new collection of poetry, "American Smooth," at 6:45 p.m. Thursday Sept. 30, in the sixth floor Montpelier Room of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington D.C. A book signing will follow the reading. The event is free and open to the public; tickets are not required. This program is presented under the auspices of the Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund.

Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1952. A 1970 Presidential Scholar, she received a bachelors degree from Miami University of Ohio, a master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa, and she held a Fulbright scholarship at the Universität Tübingen in Germany.

In addition to "American Smooth," to be published by W. W. Norton & Co. this September, Dove's collections of poetry include "The Yellow House on the Corner" (1980);"Museum" (1983); "Thomas and Beulah" (1986), which won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize; "Grace Notes"(1989); "Selected Poems" (1993); "Mother Love" (1995); and "On the Bus with Rosa Parks" (1999).

Dove's other publications include "Fifth Sunday" (1985), a collection of short stories; the novel "Through the Ivory Gate" (1992); essays under the title "The Poet's World" (1995); lectures delivered at the Library of Congress during her tenure as Poet Laureate; and the play "The Darker Face of the Earth," which had its premiere in 1996 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The play was subsequently produced at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Royal National Theatre in London and other venues. Dove's "Seven for Luck," a song cycle for soprano and orchestra set to music by John Williams, had its premiere with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts in 1998.

For "America's Millennium," the White House's 1999 New Year's celebration, Dove read a poem dedicated to Steven Spielberg's documentary "The Unfinished Journey" at the Lincoln Memorial, accompanied by the music of John Williams.

Dove is the editor of the anthology "Best American Poetry 2000." From January 2000 to January 2002, she wrote the weekly column "Poet's Choice" for The Washington Post's Book World. Among her many honors and awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1978 and 1989) and the Guggenheim Foundation (1983-84), the Academy of American Poets' Lavan Younger Poet Award (1986), the 1993 Great American Artist Award from the NAACP and the 2001 Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award in the Literary Arts.

Dove is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

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PR 04-144
08/03/04
ISSN 0731-3527

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