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The poetry of black women speaks honestly of their experiences, revealing their vulnerability and their strengths. Rita Dove wears the mantle of poet laureate well as she shares her imaginative vision.
1. What emotions is Dove trying to evoke in "Augusta the Winged Man and Rasha the Black Dove"? Why did she choose them as her subject?
2. Would "Parsley" have the same impact on the reader if the subject matter were fiction? Do you need the background that Dove gives to make that decision?
3. What does "After Reading 'Mickey in the Night Kitchen' for the Third Time" tell you about her relationship with her daughter? Why do you think she chose this subject matter for a poem? Would you classify this as a feminist poem?
Rita Dove, Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993-5, is one of the most gifted poets of the last half century. Her poems show an expansive and eclectic intelligence and impressive lyrical and linguistic gifts. Dove was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, and was educated at Miami University and the University of Iowa. She is the author of a novel, Through the Ivory Gate, and a collection of stories, Fifth Sunday (1985), as well as a book of essays, The Poet's World (1995). Best known for her poetry, she is the author of six books of poetry: The Yellow House on the Corner (1980); Museum (1983); Thomas and Beulah, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1987; Grace Notes (1989), Selected Poems,(1993), and her most recent work, Mother Love: Poems was published in 1996. Her other honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 1996, she received the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities and the Charles Frankel Prize. In that year, her play The Darker Face of the Earth was first produced at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Currently Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia, she lives in Charlottesville.
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