Rita Frances Dove was born August 28, 1952 in Akron, Ohio (Biographical Information-Rita Dove 1). Little did she know that as she grew up, she would become a nationally recognized poet. As a child Dove was always interested in literature, ".the young Dove had a particular fondness and passion for books, and said that her parents encouraged her to read anything that she pleased.""(Biography-Criticism). As she matured, this "fondness- grew, she eventually became an English professor and famed poet that greatly influenced writing in the U.S. In this paper I intend to prove that Rita Dove is one of the most influential poets in the U.S. because of her many awards and achievements, her historical and social themes, and her poetry that speaks for he socially mute.
Anyone can write a poem, but when do you become a poet? In Rita Dove's case it was at her first moment of recognition. when she received the Pulitzer Prize. She says, "The first moment that really stood out in terms of .recognition was when I got the Pulitzer. I was 34; I had no idea I was being considered. (An Online Interview with Rita Dove (AOIWRD) 3). Receiving the Pulitzer is always an honor, but for Dove it was even more spectacular. Why? Because "when she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1987, Rita Dove became one of the youngest writers to ever receive the honor, and only the second black person to do so."" (Rita Dove Home Page). .
Thomas and Beulah was the book for which she received the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. "I was very pleased that the book that.got the Pulitzer. was a book about my grandparents; a collection of poems that dealt with their lives: first his side and then her side."" (AOIWRD 3). ".Rita Dove's award winning collection of poetry "Thomas and Beulah- provides glimpses into the lives of two people in love living together yet apart in an imperfect world. Dove mixes biographical, historical, and social elements to create a journey of love, marriage, life and death in 1920's Middle America.