Rita Dove was born August 28, 1952, in Akron, Ohio; American poet and essayist; winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her book Thomas and Beulah; U.S. Library of Congress Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, 1993-1995, the first African-American (after the title change from Poetry Consultant to Poet Laureate), and at age 40, the youngest poet to be appointed Poet Laureate by the Librarian of Congress. Her poetry collections include The Yellow House on the Corner, Mother Love, On the Bus with Rosa Parks, and American Smooth.
To read Rita Dove’ poem “Primer” click:
by Rita Dove
In the sixth grade I was chased home by
the Gatlin kids, three skinny sisters
in rolled-down bobby socks. Hissing
Brainiac! and Mrs. Stringbean!, they trod my heel.
I knew my body was no big deal
but never thought to retort: who’s
calling who skinny? (Besides, I knew
they’d beat me up.) I survived
their shoves across the schoolyard
because my five-foot-zero mother drove up
in her Caddie to shake them down to size.
Nothing could get me into that car.
I took the long way home, swore
I’d show them all: I would grow up.
“Primer” from Mother Love, © 1995 by Rita Dove – W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.