Rita Dove, the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia, has been selected to receive the medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation, the nonprofit organization that presents the National Book Awards. She will be honored in New York on November 15.
“Rita Dove’s oeuvre — from poetry, plays, and songs to essays and fiction — is a testament to her dazzling skill across genre and form,” said Ruth Dickey, the executive director of the National Book Foundation. “Dove’s work transforms the everyday into the remarkable, brilliantly blending music, politics, and, let’s not forget, pleasure.”
Professor Dove has published 11 collections of poetry including her latest book Playlist for the Apocalypse: Poems (W.W. Norton, 2021) and Collected Poems, 1974-2004 (2016). In addition to poetry, Dove has published a book of short stories and the novel Through the Ivory Gate (Pantheon, 1992).
Professor Dove, who served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995, won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1987. She is the first poet to receive the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts.
Professor Dove is a summa cum laude graduate of Miami University in Ohio, where she majored in English. She holds a master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa. Professor Dove joined the faculty at the University of Virginia in 1989.