Prize-winning Poet Rita Dove to Speak at Yale
New Haven, Conn. — Rita Dove, the youngest person ever named Poet Laureate of the United States and the first African American to hold that honor, will visit Yale as the next Chubb Fellow on November 7.
Dove will give a free, public reading of her poetry at 4:30 p.m. in Room 127, Yale Law School, 127 Wall St.
Dove is the Commonwealth Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. She served two terms as Poet Laureate and Consultant to the Library of Congress, 1993–1995. Among her many distinctions are the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, the National Humanities Medal, the Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award and 21 honorary doctoral degrees. In 2006 she received the Common Wealth Foundation’s Award of Distinguished Service, together with broadcast journalist (and Yale alumnus) Anderson Cooper, former U.S. Senator and pioneering astronaut John Glenn, playwright and director Mike Nichols and peace activist Queen Noor of Jordan.
Her poetry collections include “The Yellow House on the Corner” (1980), “Museum” (1983), “Thomas and Beulah” (1986), “Grace Notes” (1989), “Selected Poems” (1993), “Mother Love” (1995) and “On the Bus with Rosa Parks” (1999). She has also published a book of short stories, “Fifth Sunday” (1985), a novel, “Through the Ivory Gate” (1992), and collected essays under the title “The Poet’s World” (1995). Her most recent poetry collection, “American Smooth,” was published in 2004. Dove’s play, “The Darker Face of the Earth,” had its world premiere in 1996 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and was subsequently produced at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Royal National Theatre in London and the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis.
Dove was invited to read her poem “Lady Freedom Among Us” at the ceremony commemorating the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Capitol and the restoration of the Freedom Statue to the Capitol’s dome in 1993. For “America’s Millennium,” the White House New Year’s celebration in 2000, she was invited to read one of her poems at the Lincoln Memorial, accompanied by music by John Williams. That performance was filmed for Steven Spielberg’s documentary, “The Unfinished Journey.” Dove also wrote the text for composer Alvin Singleton’s “Umoja — Each One of Us Counts,” narrated by Andrew Young and performed at Atlanta Symphony Hall during the opening weekend of the Centennial Olympic Summer Games in 1992.
The Chubb Fellowship is devoted to encouraging and aiding Yale students interested in the operations of government, culture and public service. Established in 1936 through the generosity of Hendon Chubb (Yale 1895), the program is based in Timothy Dwight College. Each year three or four distinguished women and men have been appointed as visiting Chubb Fellows. While at Yale, they have close, informal contact with students and deliver a public lecture. Former Chubb Fellows include Presidents Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Raul Alfonsín of Argentina; prime ministers Clement Atlee (UK) and Mario Soares (Portugal); authors Toni Morrison and Carlos Fuentes; choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov; journalist Walter Cronkite and feminist Gloria Steinem.
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