October 12, 2010 — Rita Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English in U.Va.'s College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, will receive the Ohioana Book Award for Poetry on Oct. 16 in Columbus for her 2009 book, "Sonata Mulattica."
"Sonata Mulattica" tells the story – in verse – of the biracial African-Polish 18th-century violin virtuoso George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower, who was an inspiration to and a one-time friend of Ludwig von Beethoven.
The Ohioana Library Association gives several cultural awards annually, including the book award. It goes to an author whose body of work has made, and continues to make, a significant contribution to poetry, and through whose work as a writer, teacher or administrator or in community service, interest in poetry has been developed.
A native of Akron, Ohio, Dove graduated from Miami University of Ohio and earned her master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa. She won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her book, "Thomas and Beulah." She joined the U.Va. faculty in 1989.
She was U.S. Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995 and special consultant in poetry for the Library of Congress bicentennial in 1999. From 2004 to 2006, Dove served as the poet laureate of Virginia.