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(02/25/2008) American Smooth: Poems by Rita Dove. New York. 2004. Norton. keywords: Literature America Poetry Black Women. 143 pages. Jacket Design by Gina Werster. Jacket Photograph: 'A Memory' by Gordon Parks. Author Photograph by Fred Viebahn. 0393059871.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   'Rita Dove's poems about dance educate and excite us. They do so because dance, like poetry - like song - occupies a central place in the poet's life:' - American Poet. Occasion to celebrate: a new collection by the Pulitzer Prize - winning former Poet Laureate, her first since ON THE BUS WITH ROSA PARKS. Dove's magnificent poems pay homage to our kaleidoscopic cultural heritage - from the glorious shimmer of an operatic soprano to Bessie Smith's mournful wail; from paradise lost to angel food cake; from hotshots at the local shooting range to the Negro jazz band in World War I whose music conquered Europe before the Allied advance, Like the ballroom- dancing couple of the title poem, smiling and making the difficult seem effortless, Dove explores the shifting surfaces between perception and intimation. Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Oscar, makes her way through crowds to receive the award, A girl in Harlem studies the flirtations of the adult world so that someday, she, too, can 'pop right out. ' Fred Astaire once proclaimed, 'I just put my feet in the air and move them around:' Like Astaire, Rita Dove, speaking intimately to us as we lean in, is such a master that we never notice the work of creation.

Rita Dove, former Poet Laureate of the United States, is the recipient of many honors, among them the Pulitzer Prize, the National Humanities Medal, and the Heinz Award, Among her recent publications are the poetry collection ON THE BUS WITH ROSA PARKS and the drama THE DARKER FACE OF THE EARTH. She is Commonwealth Professor 0f English at the University of Virginia.

 

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