Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Black Women in History:Poetic History, Rita Dove

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All my life my mother has encouraged me to fall in love with words, but it was not without hesitation.  Until recently I haven't been an avid reader. I could never understand why my mother encouraged me to read, my young self thought it was to find joy in my torture. I now know what I didn't know then, to become a great writer you must become a great listener. You need to hear beyond the words that are written on the page and find understanding in the writers voice. You can not develop your own voice without learning from others. For this reason I feel very connected to the next Black Woman in History that I have chosen to highlight.  Rita Dove was the youngest and first African American woman to be appointed Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant of Poetry at the Library of Congress.

Rita  Dove was born August 28, 1952 in Akron, Ohio to chemist Ray Dove, the first African American research chemist to work in the tire industry, and Elvira Hord, a homemaker. Like myself Dove was encouraged by her family to develop a passion for reading and the arts at an early age. She graduated from Buchtel High as one of the top 100 American graduates  in the country and later went on the graduate summa cum laude from Miami University of Ohio in 1973.  Dove education wasn't finished there, she recieved a Masters in Fine Arts (Iowa Writer Workshop) from University of Iowa and was a Fulbright Scholar at Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany. Dove's extensive education and poetic nature made her the perfect candidate to teach writing at Arizona State University for almost 10 years. Dove has taught at the University of Virginia since 1989 and is currently the Commonwealth Professor of English.  She also acted as an editor for The Best American Poetry 2000 and briefly wrote a weekly column for The Washington Post.

Dove has authored several collections of poetry including Thomas and Beulah, which she won a Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1987.  Her most recent poetry collection,  Sonata Mulattica was published in 2009 by W.W. Norton & Company. She is well respected in the writing community and has received honorary doctorates from over twenty colleges and universities including;  Boston College, Spelman College, and University of Notre Dame. She has countless accolades including the 1996 National Humanities Medal (charles Frankel Prize), Commonwealth Award of Distinguished Service in Literature award in 2006, and2009 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal. Dove has accomplished so much while having a successful marriage to German writer Fred Viebahn and parenting her daughter, Aviva Dove-Viebaun.

This post due to time constraints and my limited resources, could not list all of Rita Dove's many accmplishments. However I hope that if you are a parent that you look at Rita Dove and realize that "Great minds start little," as Baby Einstien states so succinctly in their product line.   Every moment that is spent reading a book or exposing a young child to arts is worth it in the long run, who knows you may be raising a history making Pulitizer prize winner.

Hairstory Because I have been so awestruke in learning about Rita Dove, I didn't really get the opportunity to do that much digging into her Hair perspective. However in the few photos that I did see of her online she rocked two distinct styles, a recent one layered bob look with flipped ends and an afrochic natural look. (Both pictured below)

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I really enjoyed my brief research on Rita Dove and will definitely be diving into some of her poetry real soon.  She is one of the many African American women that have inspired me in this post series.

Make sure you check out the other post in this series, "Black Women in History," and feel free to comment.  Thank you for stopping by. Peace and Love,

Najeema Iman, I AM Curly Locks
"I believe in Kingdom blogging!"

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Originally Posted February 2011
Updated February  6, 2013

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