Rita Dove

A Writing Assignment from Rita Dove

Write a poem about your mother’s kitchen. (It helps if you actually draw the kitchen first, with crayons!) Put the oven in it, and also something green, and something dead. You are not in this poem, but some female relation—aunt, sister, close friend—must walk into the kitchen during the course of the poem.


From The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach, edited by Robin Behn and Chase Twitchell (Harper Perennial, 1992)



Rita Dove (August 28, 1952 - ) served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1993 - 95. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1987 and served as Poet Laureate for Virginia from 2004 - 06. Other honors include a National Humanities Medal, a National Medal of Arts, and the Library of Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award. Dove is the author of ten books of poems, including American Smooth (W.W. Norton, 2004), Mother Love (W.W. Norton, 1995), and Thomas and Beulah (Carnegie Mellon Press, 1986), as well as a novel, a collection of short fiction, plays, an essay collection. Dove has taught at Arizona State University and, since 1989, at the University of Virginia. To read more about this author: Grace Cavalieri's interview with Rita Dove.