Segments in this Video

Meet Rita Dove (01:40)


Rita Dove is awarded the National Medal of Arts, making her the first person to receive all three of the nation's highest arts and humanities distinctions. Rita Dove is an author and professor, as well as the sole editor for "The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry."

176 Poets Represent Melting Pot (01:10)

Dove discusses the variety of voices represented in "The Penguin of Twentieth-Century American Poetry." She says poetry can provide a more personal recount of history.

Different Ways Poets Express Truth (01:26)

Dove notes a range of poetic voices coexisting in the twentieth century. She says civil rights in poetry became more apparent towards the end of the twentieth century.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (02:23)

Dove explains the meaning of T.S. Eliot's poem. She says it expressed doubts about the new century, and represented a new way of talking about emotions in the early twentieth century.

I Sit And Sew, 1920s (03:15)

Viewers hear Alice Dunbar-Nelson's poem, which combines the subject of war and feminism. Dove addresses the poem in its historical context.

Touch Me by Stanley Kunitz (04:31)

Viewers hear Stanley Kunitz recite his poem, "Touch Me." Dove says this poem demonstrates the way language helps to orchestrate feeling. She describes the poem as easy to relate.

Countee Cullen, Poet with Variety (03:00)

Dove describes Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen. His poem "Incident", read by Dove, discusses racism. "John Keats, Poet, At Spring Time," is read by Moyers.

Race's Influence on Poetry (02:18)

Dove analyzes Alain Locke's famous essay "The New Negro." Viewers hear a quote by Langston Hughes in which he describes a new found sense of freedom.

Homage to My Hips (02:31)

Lucille Clifton reads her poem "Homage to My Hips." Dove says this poem shows the importance of embracing ourselves completely.

Mid Century Poetry Reflects America's Changing Attitudes (02:11)

Poets like Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Robert Lowell are used as examples of poets that transformed poetry during the 1950s.

Rita Dove's Poetry (03:02)

Dove reads her own poem, "Day Star." She says her poem addresses important moments that, "are unremarked upon."

How Dove Would Integrate Poetry into Schools (02:04)

Dove describes how she would incorporate poetry into students' lives.

Credits: Moyers & Company: Rita Dove-Decoding the Language of Poetry (02:40)

Credits: Moyers & Company: Rita Dove-Decoding the Language of Poetry

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Moyers & Company: Rita Dove—Decoding the Language of Poetry

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In this edition of Moyers & Company, Bill Moyers welcomes former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove, who received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama. Dove served two terms as poet laureate, the youngest and the first African-American to be named to that prestigious position. Through an intimate conversation and select readings, Moyers and Dove explore American history, language, culture, and ideas. They also talk about the responsibility and controversy that comes with editing a prestigious anthology, as Dove was recently tasked for The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Broadcast date: February 17, 2012. (28 minutes)

Length: 35 minutes

Item#: BVL48980

ISBN: 978-1-62102-981-6

Copyright date: ©2012

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