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Tag Archives: Rita Dove

Anisfield-Wolf Authors Protest “Muslim Ban” In An Open Letter To President Trump

Sixty-six writers and artists – including seven Anisfield-Wolf recipients and two jury members – wrote an open letter to President Donald Trump asking him to desist from broadly banning travel to the United States by people from seven predominately Muslim countries. The letter, sponsored by PEN America, is timed to influence the president before he issues a second version of his original, sweeping travel ban, which is now stayed by the U.S. District Court of Appeals. “Preventing international artists from contributing to American cultural life will not make America safer, and will damage its international prestige and influence,” wrote the signatories, who include poet Rita Dove and historian Simon Schama, panelists on the five-member Anisfield-Wolf jury. The letter... Read More →

“An Evening With Rita Dove & Friends” Captures 30 Years Of The Poet’s Greatest Verses

Each time poet and Akron native Rita Dove speaks in Northeast Ohio, she begins with an acknowledgement of home. Her trip to Cleveland this past September was particularly rich in the significance of place. "It's been like one huge family reunion," she said, smiling wide at the audience assembled at the Maltz Performing Arts Center on the Case Western Reserve University campus. More than 600 people sat entranced for "An Evening With Rita Dove and Friends," a celebration of the Anisfield-Wolf juror’s three decades of literary prominence. One of them was Harvard Sociologist Orlando Patterson, who said the following evening, “Last night I witnessed the extraordinary cultural presence of black America in our cultural life as I sat with the largest and most integrated audience I have ever... Read More →

Join Us For “An Evening With Rita Dove And Friends” On September 14

Rita Dove is coming home. The former poet laureate and Akron native will return to the region that raised her to celebrate her new “Collected Poems” and for the 30th anniversary of her Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection, “Thomas and Beulah.” "An Evening with Rita Dove & Friends" serves as an intellectual appetizer for our 2016 awards ceremony, with jury chair Henry Louis Gates and all five 2016 winners — Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Mary Morris, Orlando Patterson, Lillian Faderman and Brian Seibert — scheduled to attend. Poet Toi Derricotte, who won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for “The Black Notebooks” in 1998, will introduce her friend to a hometown crowd.The evening is co-sponsored by Brews and Prose, the literary series.Published in 1986, “Thomas and... Read More →

#WritersOnTrump Push Back On Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee

Five winners of the Anisfield-Wolf Book award in fiction are standing up to publicly, “as a matter of conscience, oppose, unequivocally, the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States.”They join Anisfield-Wolf juror Rita Dove and more than 400 writers who list eight reasons to decry Trump’s candidacy, published as an open letter on LitHub.The novelists include this year’s winner Mary Morris (The Jazz Palace), as well as Junot Diaz (The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao), Maxine Hong Kingston (The Woman Warrior), Nicole Krauss (Great House) and Anthony Marra (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena).“Because American history, despite periods of nativism and bigotry, has from the first been a grand experiment in bringing people of different backgrounds... Read More →

Rita Dove’s Love Letter To Toni Morrison At NBCC: “No Words Can Fully Express What You’ve Meant To Me”

Photo credit: Fred Viebahn Poet Rita Dove introduced Toni Morrison—the only living American Nobel recipient in literature—with joy and grace and poetry at the New School in Manhattan, where Morrison received the National Book Critics Circle's Ivan Sandrof award—its lifetime achievement prize. The NBCC stressed that Morrison the editor, the essayist, the critic, the mentor and professor had made enormous contributions to American letters, in addition to her luminous books. But it was the eloquent Dove, a Pulitzer winner, a former U.S. poet laureate and long-serving juror of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, who made a case for the ages. Dove remembered herself as a searching young woman, the only African American graduate student at the University of Iowa's Writer's Workshop:"One day... Read More →

Rita Dove Brings Focus To Literacy In Akron, Delivers Stunning Poetry To Inspire A New Generation

When former poet laureate Rita Dove graced the stage of the Akron Civic Theater October 16, she took a minute to give thanks to her hometown.  "It's wonderful to be back home," Dove told the crowd, adding that she was thankful for the opportunity to "give back what was given to me." The Anisfield-Wolf juror was the headliner for Project Learn of Summit County's annual "Night of Illumination," a fundraiser to improve literacy. The figures are sobering: an estimated 18 percent of the adult population in Summit County read at less than a fifth grade education. For more than 30 years, Project Learn has worked to improve literacy rates among adults, offering free classes and workshops. During the afternoon, Dove met with 30 students from these classes for an intense writing session. Two of... Read More →

Anisfield-Wolf Winners Both Attend And Object To The Brooklyn Book Festival

  Photo credit: Belem Destefani Brooklyn, N.Y. -- The Brooklyn Book Festival—a celebratory, cerebral, free event that runs one Sunday in September—attracted tens of thousands of readers, and this year, a spike of controversy. Anisfield-Wolf jurors Rita Dove and Joyce Carol Oates read from their work, soaking up warm applause, while two recent fiction winners—Junot Diaz and Kamila Shamsie—signed a petition calling on the festival to sever its support from Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “It is deeply regrettable that the Festival has chosen to accept funding from the Israeli government just weeks after Israel’s bloody 50-day assault on the Gaza Strip, which left more than 2,100 Palestinians – including 500 children – dead,” asserts the petition, distributed... Read More →

When Maya Met Toni: The 40-Year-Friendship Between Two Literary Giants

 Anisfield-Wolf winner Toni Morrison found herself on stage at the Hay Festival in Wales May 28, the same day her friend Maya Angelou died in North Carolina at the age of 86. The obvious question—"Do you have any words to say about her life and legacy?"—was coming.    "She launched African-American women writing in the United States," Morrison said, choosing her words carefully. "She was generous to a fault. She had 19 talents...used 10. She was a real original. There's no duplicate." The friendship between Morrison and Angelou spanned more than 40 years. In 1973, Angelou wrote to Morrison after she finished reading Sula, telling her, "This is one of the most important books I've ever read." Their friendship deepened as they continued to cross paths and support one another's... Read More →

Rita Dove Lauded In New Documentary On Her Formative Years

Filmmaker Eduardo Montes-Bradley knew he wanted to make a film on Rita Dove. So the director of documentaries on former NAACP chairman Julian Bond and revolutionary Che Guevara decided to finance the project out of his own pockets. "To have someone like Rita Dove expressing herself in generational terms by talking about her father and grandfather in her poetry was, to me, like a triple jackpot," the Virginia-based filmmaker said. "I got the writer I was looking for. I got the story I was looking for, and I had it all right here at home."  The result is "Rita Dove: An American Poet" built from family photos, home videos and interviews with its subject  Montes-Bradley explores the former poet laureate's formative years and asks how a girl from Akron, Ohio, became one of the most... Read More →

Happy Birthday, Rita Dove

Anisfield-Wolf juror Rita Dove is 61 today.  Her father, chemist Ray Dove, took her and her brother from Akron, Ohio, to Washington, D.C. when she was 11, where Mr. Dove participated in the March for Jobs and Freedom.  This video, created by Rita Dove’s husband Fred Viebahn, features rich personal photographs and vintage film.  Please note that the music in the background is former U.S. Poet Laureate Dove herself, playing bass viol. Read More →
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