Rita Dove served as Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant to the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995 and as Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. She has received numerous literary and academic honors, among them the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and, more recently, the 2003 Emily Couric Leadership Award, the 2001 Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award, the 1997 Sara Lee Frontrunner Award, the 1997 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, the 1996 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities and the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Clinton. In 2006 she received the Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service, in 2007 she became a Chubb Fellow at Yale University, in 2008 she was honored with the Library of Virginia’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2009 she received the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal and the Premio Capri. President Barack Obama presented her with the 2011 National Medal of Arts, which made her the only poet with both the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts to her credit. To date, 25 honorary doctorates have been bestowed upon Rita Dove, most recently — in 2014 – by Yale University and – in 2013 – by Emerson College in Boston and Emory University in Atlanta.
Ms. Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952. A 1970 Presidential Scholar as one of the hundred top American high school graduates that year, she received her B.A. summa cum laude from Miami University of Ohio in 1973 and her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1977. In 1974/75 she held a Fulbright scholarship at the Universität Tübingen in Germany. A member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Rita Dove holds the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she lives with her husband, the writer Fred Viebahn. They have a grown daughter, Aviva Dove-Viebahn.