Collected Poems: 1974-2004
Rita Dove's Collected Poems 1974-2004 showcases the wide-ranging diversity that earned her a Pulitzer Prize, the position of U.S. poet laureate, a National Humanities Medal, and a National Medal of Art. Gathering thirty years and seven books, this volume compiles Dove's fresh reflections on adolescence in The Yellow House on the Corner and her irreverent musings in Museum. She sets the moving love story of Thomas and Beulah against the backdrop of war, industrialization, and the civil right struggles. The multifaceted gems of Grace Notes, the exquisite reinvention of Greek myth in the sonnets of Mother Love, the troubling rapids of recent history in On the Bus with Rosa Parks, and the homage to America's kaleidoscopic cultural heritage in American Smooth all celebrate Dove's mastery of narrative context with lyrical finesse. With the "precise, singing lines" for which the Washington Post praised her, Dove "has created fresh configurations of the traditional and the experimental" (Poetry magazine).
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This is an absolutely astounding body of work. . . . Few contemporary poets are this capacious, this capable, this serious and this pleasurable to read. . . . The lyric beauty of Dove's poems makes them unforgettable; their deep knowledge of history and its ongoing consequences makes them permanent.
To read the poems of Rita Dove, to go where they take you, is to follow her deeply into a series of themes and their subsets: African-Americans in history and right now, ideas of indenture and independence, sex, travel, language (she compares commas to "miniature scythes"), family, motherhood, roomy adult love and whatever is coming out of the radio. . . . Ms. Dove's poems have earthiness, originality, power and range.--Dwight Garner
Dove gracefully reminds us why so many honors are hers. Read every word she gives.
This substantive and enriching decades-spanning volume charts the work of Dove as she forged her legacy from a sharp, unflinching eye that skillfully turned history into collective memory. . . . Through her alluring language, Dove has long made the exceedingly difficult seem effortless; each poem here is a testament to her brilliance.