—A CHORUS OF VOICES
FROM THIS SLIGHT and solitary woman, what a chorus of voices—bold, sly, anguished, determined—each one spotlighted briefly on the darkened stage of story or poem. Even during conversation, characters from her memory or art appear and disappear, adding their particular slant to an anecdote, spicing the talk with echoes from the past. It's almost as if Rita Dove, poet and novelist, is at the height of her craft when she is giving voice to the collection of presences that have, subtly or dramatically, shaped her life.
The recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, Ms. Dove is currently the Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia. In 1987, her collection Thomas and Beulah made her one of the youngest winners ever of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. The book encapsulates the history of the twentieth-century African American migration to the North by focusing on her grandparents and the family they created in Ohio. In