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September 15 , 2010

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Rita Dove to Read at Smith

Rita DoveNORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Smith College will present a reading by poet Rita Dove at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, in Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is first-come, first-served, and the doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Recipient of many of the nation’s highest cultural honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, the NAACP Great American Artist Award and the National Humanities Medal, Dove is an American treasure. She served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995, the youngest person ever to be elected to that office. As only the second African-American U.S. Poet Laureate, Dove noted in the Washington Post that her appointment was "significant in terms of the message it sends about the diversity of our culture and our literature."

Dove's body of work has won wide critical praise and reflects her interest in music and drama, as well as her commitment to social justice and her sensitivity to women's issues. A writer of startling breadth, Dove has published six collections of poetry, including "Thomas and Beulah," "On the Bus with Rosa Parks" and "American Smooth." In addition, she is the author of a book of short stories, a novel, a volume of essays and the play "The Darker Face of the Earth." "Seven for Luck," a song cycle for soprano and orchestra with music by John Williams, was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in 1998.

Dove’s most recent book of poems, "Sonata Mulattica," dramatizes the life of violinist George Polgreen Bridgetower (1780-1860). Son of a European woman and a self-proclaimed “African Prince,” the child prodigy dazzled the courts of Europe with his playing and so impressed Beethoven that he dashed off a wildly difficult sonata for piano and violin and named it after the boy. “Dove’s richly imagined book,” writes poet Mark Doty, “has the sweep and vivid characters of a novel, but it’s written with a poet’s economy and eye for exact detail.”

Dove is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she lives with her husband, German writer Fred Viebahn.

Dove’s reading will be followed by a book sale and signing. For further information, contact Michaela Cahillane at (413) 585-4891. For disability access information or to request accommodations, call (413) 585-2407. To request a sign language interpreter specifically, cal l(413) 585-2071 (voice or TTY) or e-mail All requests must be made at least 10 days prior to the event.

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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