Rita Dove served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995 and as Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. Her books of poetry include Sonata Mulattica, American Smooth, On the Bus with Rosa Parks, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Thomas and Beulah, which won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. She has received 25 honorary doctorates, including one from Emory University in 2013. Dove is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia, where she has taught since 1989.

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