Former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove, who has earned a Pulitzer Prize and other major accolades, will be at Mississippi State next week to lead the writer-in-residence program of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Institute for the Humanities.

Highlighting her visit will be a free special presentation at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in McCool Hall’s Taylor Auditorium

Poet laureate from 1993-95, Dove currently holds the rank of Commonwealth Professor in the University of Virginia’s English department. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Miami University of Ohio, with a master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa.

“Thomas and Beulah,” Dove’s 1986 collection, won that year’s Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Her other major works in this genre include “On the Bus with Rosa Parks,” 1999; “American Smooth,” 2004; and “Sonata Mulattica,” 2009.

In 1985, she released a collection of short stories titled “Fifth Sunday” and, in 1992, a novel, “Through the Ivory Gate.”

When President Barack Obama presented the Akron, Ohio, native with a National Medal of Arts in 2011, she became the only poet to hold both that major recognition and a National Humanities Medal. She also has received 25 honorary doctorates, the most recent from Yale University in 2014.

Dove’s MSU visit and related events also are supported by the Mississippi Arts Commission and Mississippi Humanities Council.

William Anthony Hay, institute director, said Dove’s time on campus is designed to introduce new perspectives to MSU students and employees, along with interested community members.

“Our writer-in-residence program has been a great success that puts Mississippi State on the map for its engagement with the arts and humanities,” Hay said.

Dove’s complete biographical profile is at www.engl.virginia.edu/people/rfd4b.


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