Thursday Apr 18

DoveRita 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, among them the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the 2001 Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award, the 1996 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, a 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Clinton, the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the inaugural U.S. Presidential Scholars Award from the Presidential Scholars Foundation (which she received together with fellow 1970 Presidential and National Merit Scholar Merrick Garland). President Barack Obama presented her with the 2011 National Medal of Arts. 

She has
published the poetry collections The Yellow House on the Corner (1980), Museum (1983), Thomas and Beulah (1986), Grace Notes (1989), Selected Poems (1993), Mother Love (1995), On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999), American Smooth (2004), and Sonata Mulattica (2009; winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award). Her latest book, Collected Poems 1974-2004, was released by W.W. Norton & Co. in May 2016; it was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the NAACP Image Award in Poetry. Currently she serves as editor of The New York Times Magazine’s weekly poetry feature. Rita Dove holds the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.

This is not for you, this is not a gift.
Anyways, ribbons would have been overkill.
(I thought I could make it to the store
before closing. What kind of crap town
is this? I shouted, kicking the locked door.)
So I messed up a little. Not that
it would’ve changed things if traffic had flowed
as proscribed or those knuckleheads
had learned to follow the rules:
when turning left, pull into the intersection,
use your blinkers to indicate lane change,
and when merging, take turns – it’s called
scissoring, dumb asses, it’s also how
I made the fringe on the wrapping,
which you are permitted to appreciate
even though this is not for you.
No gifts! you said, and I got it.
I’m not stupid. I know the rules.