Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio. Her father, Ray A. Dove, was a chemist, and a pioneer of integration in American industry. Both of her parents encouraged persistent study and wide reading. From an early age, Rita loved poetry and music. She played cello in her high school orchestra, and led her high school's majorette squad. As one of the most outstanding high school graduates of her year, she was invited to the White House as a Presidential Scholar. At Miami University in Ohio, she began to pursue writing seriously. After graduating summa cum laude with a degree in English in 1973, she won a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany for two years at the University of Tubingen. She then joined the famous Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, receiving her Masters' Degree in 1977. At Iowa, she met another Fulbright scholar, a young writer from Germany named Fred Viebahn. They were married in 1979. Their daughter Aviva was born in 1983. From 1981 to 1989, Rita Dove taught creative writing at Arizona State University. Appearances in magazines and anthologies had won national acclaim for Rita Dove before she published her first poetry collection, The Yellow House on the Corner in 1980. It was followed by Museum (1983) and Thomas and Beulah, (1986) a collection of interrelated poems loosely based on the life of her grandparents. Thomas and Beulah won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In 1993, Rita Dove was appointed to a two-year term as Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She was the youngest person, and the first African-American, to receive this highest official honor in American letters. In the fall of 1994,... [continues]
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