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Rita Dove, U.S. Poet Laureate: A Resource Guide

American poet Rita Dove served as U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry from 1993-1995 at the Library of Congress. This guide provides access to selected print and online resources related to Dove’s life and work.


U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, 1993-1995. Photo credit: Fred Viebahn

On May 19, 1993, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Rita Dove as the 7th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. On making the appointment, Billington said:

I take much pleasure in announcing the selection of a younger poet of distinction and versatility. Having had a number of Poet Laureates who have accumulated multiple distinctions from lengthy and distinguished careers, we will be pleased to have an outstanding representative of a new and richly variegated generation of American poets. Rita Dove is an accomplished and already widely recognized poet in mid-career whose work gives special promise to explore and enrich contemporary American poetry.

Dove served two terms as poet laureate from 1993-1995, and was appointed as a Special Bicentennial Consultant in 1999. In 2022 she received the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry (for lifetime achievement) from the Library of Congress.

This guide provides an overview of print and online resources related to Dove's life and work. To suggest additions to this guide, please contact the Library's poetry and literature reference librarians.

Contact Information for Rita Dove

If you would like to contact Rita Dove please direct your inquiries as suggested below:

  • Reading and Event Requests: If you would like to schedule Dove for a reading or other event, contact Stephanie Gunst, assistant to Rita Dove at the University of Virginia, at (434) 924-6618 or [email protected] External.
  • Permissions Requests: Contact the publisher of the poem or work written by Rita Dove that you'd like to use.
  • Reference Questions: Use the Library's Ask a Librarian service.