New ‘Inside UVA’ Episode Features Lauded Poet Rita Dove
Audio: ‘Inside UVA’ With Rita Dove(26:26)
University of Virginia President Jim Ryan welcomes world-famous poet Rita Dove this week as the 10th guest on his “Inside UVA” podcast.
Dove, the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing at UVA, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1987 and served as the U.S. poet laureate from 1993 to 1995. She holds 28 honorary doctorates from institutions including Harvard University, the Pratt Institute and Spelman College.
In their interview, Ryan asks Dove what got her into poetry. “I think my love of poetry began even before I learned to read, because I loved books and I loved picture books and I loved the stories that they told without using words,” she says.
The president also asks Dove if she thought being a teacher of poetry has made her a better poet. She answers without hesitation, “Yes, it has. It keeps me honest. [There is] nothing like a young person to keep you honest.”
During the course of a semester, Dove will give students an individualized writing assignment she calls a “wild card.” Some of her students have turned the tables on her and given her a “wild card” assignment. “Some of those wild cards, or those challenges by students, have resulted in some wonderful poems for me,” she said.
Ryan launched “Inside UVA” last semester to highlight the inner workings of running a large, public university. Previous guests have included former football head coach Bronco Mendenhall, Provost Liz Magill and beloved economics professor Ken Elzinga.