We are thrilled to congratulate Rita Dove for the National Medal of Arts she received earlier this week. The medal is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government” and “recognizes the extraordinary accomplishments of individuals engaged in the creation and production of the arts in the United States.”
Rita Dove’s contribution has truly been extraordinary. Her awards and accolades include the appointment of Poet Laureate as both the youngest person to receive the honor, and the first African-American to hold the position, and a Pulitzer Prize.
Yet it is her humanity above all for which we are thankful. Regardless of the stature she has achieved, Ms. Dove has made time to connect with poetry lovers from all walks of life. A great friend to the Dodge Festival, she has read at four Festivals since 1992. Her enthusiasm, grace and intense care with language have won her many admirers over the years.
For a small taste of Rita Dove’s enormous talent, watch her read “American Smooth” at the 2010 Festival:
To read more about Dove, including her background in ballroom dance, read our blog post from 2010.