Rita Dove, 1952–, American poet, b. Akron, Ohio. Her first poetry collection, Ten Poems, was published in 1977. Her verse is at once concise, precise, and evocative. History as seen from an African-American perspective is perhaps her most important theme: the history of her country, as in the slavery poem sequence of The Yellow House on the Corner (1980), and the history of her own family, as in the Pulitzer Prize–winning volume Thomas and Beulah (1986), her grandparents' life story in verse. In her many collections, Dove also writes compellingly of mother-daughter relations, e.g., Mother Love (1995), everyday life, travel, and the aesthetic experience itself. From 1993 to 1995 she was U.S. poet laureate, the first African American to hold the post. An English professor at the Univ. of Virginia, Dove has also written short stories, a play, and a novel.