Excerpt from


Every day a wilderness--no
shade in sight. Beulah
patient among knicknacks,
the solarium a rage
of light, a "rainstorm
as her gray cloth brings
dark wood to life.

Rita Dove's Home Page

Rita Dove at Academy of American Poets

Rita Dove at Poetry Foundation

Rita Dove at Modern American Poetry

Very often, people who are not familiar with poetry, or don't know much about it, are operating out of fear. At some point in their life, they've been given a poem to interpret and told, "That was the wrong answer." You know. I think we've all gone through that. I went through that. And it's unfortunate that sometimes in schools -- this need to have things quantified and graded -- we end up doing this kind of multiple choice approach to something that should be as ambiguous and ever-changing as life itself. So I try to ask them, "Have you ever heard a good joke?" If you've ever heard someone just right, with the right pacing, then you're already on the way to the poetry. Because it's really about using words in very precise ways and also using gesture as it goes through language, not the gesture of your hands, but how language creates a mood. And you know, who can resist a good joke? When they get that far, then they can realize that poetry can also be fun.

Charlie Rose interviews Rita Dove (video)

Sonata Mulattica

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