[Poetry Friday] Two Poems by Rita Dove (Happy Birthday!)

poetry friday

Fats here.

In celebration of award-winning poet Rita Dove’s birthday today, I thought I’d share with you two of her poems that I fell in love with. I have included a bio on her that was taken from The Poetry Foundation. I hope you enjoy these poems as much as I did!

Join Sylvia at Poetry for Children for the poetry round-up party!

Click the image to be taken to The Heinz Awards website and read more about Rita Dove.

Click the image to be taken to The Heinz Awards website and read more about Rita Dove.

Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952, the daughter of one of the first black chemists in the tire industry. Dove was encouraged to read widely by her parents, and excelled in school. She was named a Presidential Scholar, one of the top one hundred high-school graduates in the country and attended Miami University in Ohio as a National Merit Scholar. After graduating, Dove received a Fulbright to study at the University of Tübingen in West Germany, and later earned an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she met her husband, the German writer Fred Viebahn. Dove made her formal literary debut in 1980 with the poetry collection The Yellow House on the Corner,which received praise for its sense of history combined with individual detail. The book heralded the start of long and productive career, and it also announced the distinctive style that Dove continues to develop.

In addition to poetry, Dove has published works of fiction, including the short story collection Fifth Sunday (1990) and the novel Through the Ivory Gate (1992). Her playThe Darker Face of the Earth (1996) was produced at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Dove is also an acclaimed lyricist, and has written lyrics for composers ranging from Tania León to John Williams.

Rita Dove has received numerous honors and awards for her work, including a Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities and a Common Wealth Award. In 1996 she received a National Humanities Medal. She is currently Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

pf28a

CHOCOLATE
by Rita Dove

Velvet fruit, exquisite square
I hold up to sniff
between finger and thumb—

how you numb me
with your rich attentions!
If I don’t eat you quickly,

you’ll melt in my palm.
Pleasure seeker, if I let you
you’d liquefy everywhere.

Knotted smoke, dark punch
of earth and night and leaf,
for a taste of you

any woman would gladly
crumble to ruin.
Enough chatter: I am ready

to fall in love!

pf28b

HEART TO HEART
by Rita Dove

It’s neither red
nor sweet.
It doesn’t melt
or turn over,
break or harden,
so it can’t feel
pain,
yearning,
regret.

It doesn’t have
a tip to spin on,
it isn’t even
shapely—
just a thick clutch
of muscle,
lopsided,
mute. Still,
I feel it inside
its cage sounding
a dull tattoo:
I want, I want
but I can’t open it:
there’s no key.
I can’t wear it
on my sleeve,
or tell you from
the bottom of it
how I feel. Here,
it’s all yours, now—
but you’ll have
to take me,
too.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Happy weekend, everyone! =)

  1. “Chocolate” is a favorite poem of mine. I’ve been lucky enough to hear her read in person a few times — what a powerful presence!

    Like

    Reply

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