Five Things You Didn't Know About Rita Dove

BY HOPE CALLAHAN

Poet Rita Dove has had a notable career in the arts and letters in this country: she graduated at the top of her class in high school, continued her academic excellence at Miami University and eventually attended the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is a Pulitzer prize winner and avid traveler. Yes, Rita Dove has done (and continues to do) many incredible things -- but here are five things that you may not have known about her:

1. Dove met her husband-to-be in Iowa City. Fred Viebahn was a resident at the International Writing Program in 1976 and a Fulbright Scholar like Dove. He and Dove married in 1979. Sehr romantisch!

2. Rita Dove doesn’t limit herself as far as artistry goes: Besides being a writer, Dove is also a ballroom dancer and plays the viola da gamba, a relative of the cello, in her free time.

3. Not a stranger to our country's capitol, Rita Dove rang in the millennium by spending December 31, 1999 with such notables as President William Clinton at the Whitehouse Presidential Dinner.

4. Before starting her M.F.A. at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Dove spent two years at the Universität Tübingen on a Fulbright Scholarship (and her mom visited!)

5. Rita Dove was the youngest poet, as well as the first African American, to occupy the position of Poet Laureate for the United States. 

To learn more about Rita Dove and other Iowa authors, check out our Writers section and the City of Lit App.

Photos courtesy of Fred Viebahn

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