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Former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove reflects on her Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection and her grandparents' love

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

Published in 1986, Thomas and Beulah is a poetry collection, that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1987, inspired by the lives of Rita Dove's grandparents.

Dove grew up in Ohio but spent time in Iowa earning her MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1977. She has since become one of the most celebrated poets in American History. Dove was named U.S. Poet Laureate in 1993 and was the first Black American to fill that role. She has received the National Humanities Medal, the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her most recent work is Playlist for the Apocalypse: Poems, released in 2021. Dove joins host Charity Nebbe for this Talk of Iowa Book Club conversation to reflect on her work.

Later in the podcast, expert readers Debra Marquart and Tracie Morris join the conversation. Marquart is Iowa’s Poet Laureate. She is an author, poet, musician and a distinguished professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University. Marquart's most recent book is The Night We Landed on the Moon: Essays Between Exile & Belonging. Morris is the writer and editor of several books, a poet and performer. She is a professor of poetry at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her most recent book is Who Do with Words: A Blerd Love Tone Manifesto. Marquart and Morris delve into Dove's collection to talk about form, structure and themes.

Interested in joining the next meeting of the Talk of Iowa Book Club? The 2022 Book Club reading list is now available and our June selection is A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. Join the discussion June 14, 2022. You can also chat about book club selections and other literary interests with Charity and hundreds of other readers in the Talk of Iowa Book Club Facebook Group.

Guests:

  • Rita Dove, American poet, writer, former U.S. Poet Laureate 1993 -1995
  • Tracie Morris, professor of poetry, Iowa Writers’ Workshop, University of Iowa
  • Debra Marquart, Iowa Poet Laureate, author, poet, musician, distinguished professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Iowa State University

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Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa