Three decades of powerful lyric poetry from a virtuoso of the English language in one unabridged volume.
Rita Dove’s Collected Poems 1974–2004 showcases the wide-ranging diversity that earned her a Pulitzer Prize, the position of U.S. poet laureate, a National Humanities Medal, and a National Medal of Art. Gathering thirty years and seven books, this volume compiles Dove’s fresh reflections on adolescence inThe Yellow House on the Corner and her irreverent musings in Museum. She sets the moving love story of Thomas and Beulah against the backdrop of war, industrialization, and the civil right struggles. The multifaceted gems of Grace Notes, the exquisite reinvention of Greek myth in the sonnets of Mother Love, the troubling rapids of recent history in On the Bus with Rosa Parks, and the homage to America’s kaleidoscopic cultural heritage in American Smooth all celebrate Dove’s mastery of narrative context with lyrical finesse. With the “precise, singing lines” for which the Washington Post praised her, Dove “has created fresh configurations of the traditional and the experimental” (Poetrymagazine).
Rita Dove’s Collected Poems 1974–2004 ranges over thirty years and multiple books of poetry. These poems are as punchy fresh as they were when they first emerged in print. Dove can get down and funky with the blues on Saturday night, and then dress it up for the church people on Sunday morning. Her poems are consistent knockouts in their display of diversity and skill. She makes it look simple as she ranges from the battlefields of WWI to the widening circle of the love story of Thomas and Beulah. The domestic sphere is the whole world.