Rita Dove’s surreal images capture a familiar mood of bewilderment and anticipation, bringing you back to that teenage moment of lingering on the threshold of becoming someone new.
Excerpt from Adolescence-II by Rita Dove
The second poem in a trilogy, Rita Dove’s Adolescence-II narrates a strange late-night encounter between the narrator and three mysterious “seal men” who seem to know something she doesn’t. Dove’s surreal images capture the confusion and anticipation of adolescence, the sense of a change about to happen or perhaps happening already. Anyone who remembers puberty (and even those who think they’ve successfully forgotten it!) can relate to that teenage feeling of being on the threshold of a strange new world, in a strange new body.
Rita Dove served as Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant to the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995 and as Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. She has received numerous literary and academic honors.
President Barack Obama presented her with the 2011 National Medal of Arts (White House video-excerpt, White House video-full ceremony, personal slide show), which made her the only poet with both the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts to her credit.
To date, 28 honorary doctorates have been bestowed upon Rita Dove, most recently by Yale University in 2014 and by Smith College, Harvard University, and the University of Michigan in 2018. [excerpted from Rita Dove home page]
Rita Dove, U.S. Poet Laureate, 1993-95
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