|About the Book|
Understanding Rita Dove serves as a critical introduction to the poetry of this Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, who was also the first African American poet laureate of the United States. Through close readings of seven poetry collections, PatMoreUnderstanding Rita Dove serves as a critical introduction to the poetry of this Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, who was also the first African American poet laureate of the United States. Through close readings of seven poetry collections, Pat Righelato offers detailed analyses of Rita Doves thematic concerns and artistic development while bringing to light the musical sense of form and expression of history that permeates Doves work. While underscoring each collections distinctive identity, Righelato explores the continuities that link volume to volume, from the earliest chapbooks to Doves most recent collection, American Smooth. Charting Doves evolution as a poet, Righelato begins with The Yellow House on the Corner to identify motifs of the mythical, historical, familial, and autobiographical that have become the writers artistic capital. Dove brings African American experience to the mainstream of American poetry in Thomas and Beulah and On the Bus with Rosa Parks. Righelato positions Dove as a successor to Robert Lowell in a preoccupation with family history exemplary of American culture. Righelato also argues for viewing Dove as markedly international. In particular Righelato illuminates Doves affinity with the poet Rainer Maria Rilke in a feminist reading of Mother Love, a volume written in respectful engagement with his Sonnets to Orpheus.