Rita Dove

The Ohio Connection

It’s not true to write about some place that doesn’t have emotional resonance for you… I’m not going to write about Paris and try to make it my own. Akron is my own.”
–Rita Dove, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 28, 1999

  • Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952
  • She graduated from Buchtel High School in Akron in 1970, one of the top 100 high school graduates in the country.
  • Rita attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1973.
  • In 1979 she received a grant from the Ohio Arts Council.
  • In 1987, her book of poems, Thomas and Beulah, based loosely on the lives of her maternal grandparents and set in Akron, Ohio, won the Pulitzer Prize.
  • Also in 1987, she received a key to Akron from Mayor Don Plusquellie along with an invitation to “come back home more often.”
  • In 1988, Rita won the Ohio Governor’s Award, and she received an honorary doctorate from Miami University.
  • In 1990 she won the Ohioana Award for Grace Notes.
  • In 1991 she was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame.
  • Her 1992 novel, Through the Ivory Gate, is based in Akron, Ohio.
  • In 1994, Rita Dove read her poem “Lady Freedom Among Us” at Case Western Reserve’s May 22 commencement convocation, where she received an honorary degree.
  • Also in 1994, she won another Ohioana Book Award, this time for Selected Poems.
  • The University of Akron awarded Dove an honorary doctorate in 1994.

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