This Saturday, Rita Dove, two-time Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, will speak at UR as part of the Plutzik Memorial Series. Rita will speek at 3:15 p.m. in Lower Strong Auditorium free of charge.The event is co-sponsored by the Frederick Douglas Institute for African and African American Studies and the Susan B. Anthony Institue for Gender and Women’s Studies.Dove became the first African-American Poet Laureate and the youngest person to earn the title in 1993, and retained her position 1995. She is currently the Poet Laureate of Virginia and is also the Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.”She is one of the most important living poets of the United States,” Professor and Chair of the English Department Frank Shuffelton said. “On The Bus with Rosa Parks,” published in 1999, perhaps her most famous poetry collection, won Dove recognition as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Dove’s poetry is special in its artistic structure, especially in her most recent collection, “American Smooth,” published on September 30th. “A lot of [her] poems are thematized around dance and music,” Shuffelton said. In fact, this Saturday many of Dove’s poems, which have been set to music by students of Eastman professor David Liptack, will be performed by Eastman students. Dove’s work, however, is not confined to poetry. Other publications include short story collections, essays, a novel and texts for musical composers, such as Bruce Adolphe and Tania Len. Dove’s writing, exposing issues relevant to the African American experience, earned her the Great American Artist Award from the NAACP in 1993, among many other award.”A lot of people in the local community admire her for different reasons,” Shuffelton said of Dove. This weekend the UR community has a chance to hear Dove discuss her work and explore their own feelings towards her writing. Katz can be reached at

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