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Rita Dove

October 27, 2015

Despite the weather forecast, it was a fine autumn evening last Tuesday (20th October), when Maureen and I attended the Kenneth Allott Lecture 2015 given at the University of Liverpool by the American poet Rita Dove.

Recipient of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, Dove was US Poet Laureate 1993 – 95, the first African-American to hold that post, and the youngest.  She received the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Clinton and the 2011 National Medal of the Arts from President Obama, the only poet to have received both presidential awards.  She is currently Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.

In her lecture titled ‘How does a Shadow Shine?  Poetry, Music and the Underside of History,’ Dove explained how lives can be pulled from the shadows through imaginative reconstruction in poetry.  This she did in the case of long-forgotten “mulatto” virtuoso violinist George Bridgetower featured in her latest poetry collection Sonata Mulattica (2009).  Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No 9, Kreutzer Sonata, was composed in honour of Bridgetower.

Dove’s talk, with poetry interwoven, was an unforgettable and inspiring experience.



Just in time

we board for Liverpool Central,

croissants, Mars bars,

as the sun dips gold

this autumn eve with Rita Dove.


Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2015

From → General, Poetry, Reviews

  1. Attending this wonderful lecture given by Rita Dove one time Poet Laureate of the USA was indeed an amazing experience, made for me even more wonderful by sharing it with Paul.

    Maureen Weldon x

    • Amazing indeed was the whole experience, Rita Dove’s brilliant lecture then wandering the “Windy City” of Liverpool on a not-so-windy autumn’s eve with The Beatles and The Scaffold jostling in memory, our glasses of delicious hot chocolate in that remarkable café as we came down the hill…and all of it the more wonderful, the more magical, because of you, my Maureen.

      Love from Paul xxx

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