Rita Dove

Literary Birthday – 28 August – Rita Dove

Happy Birthday, Rita Dove, born 28 August 1952.


  1. The library is an arena of possibility, opening both a window into the soul and a door onto the world.
  2. Courage has nothing to do with our determination to be great. It has to do with what we decide in that moment when we are called upon to be more.
  3. If you can’t be free, be a mystery.
  4. From the time I began to read, as a child, I loved to feel their heft in my hand and the warm spot caused by their intimate weight in my lap; I loved the crisp whisper of a page turning, the musky odour of old paper and the sharp inky whiff of new pages. Leather bindings sent me into ecstasy. I even loved to gaze at a closed book and daydream about the possibilities inside.
  5. Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.
  6. If our children are unable to voice what they mean, no one will know how they feel. If they can’t imagine a different world, they are stumbling through a darkness made all the more sinister by its lack of reference points.
  7. I’ve always been intrigued by the way history works, the way we decide what is mentioned.
  8. If we’re going to solve the problems of the world, we have to learn how to talk to one another. Poetry is the language at its essence. It’s the bones and the skeleton of the language. It teaches you, if nothing else, how to choose your words.
  9. Sometimes a word is found so right it trembles at the slightest explanation.
  10. When I was young, I was older than I am today.

Rita Dove is an American poet and essayist. She is the author of Thomas and Beulah and Mother Love: Poems. She served as Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant to the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995 and as Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. She was awarded the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

Source for image


Eduardo Montes-Bradley, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 27th August 2017