The biennial award is presented to a major American author who has created a body of critically acclaimed work and who has mentored young writers.
Dove served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993-95 and has received numerous awards for her work, including the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. She is the only poet to receive both the National Humanities Medal (1996) and the National Medal of Arts (2011). She holds the Commonwealth Professor of English chair at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
“It's hard to imagine a poet more essential to our literary culture than Rita Dove,” said Karen Holmberg, an associate professor of English and creative writing at OSU. “Each of her books has enlarged the imaginative reach of American poetry by infusing it with personal and broader history, and by meditating on issues of race and identity as well as the interrelationships between poetry and music, dance, and drama.”
Dove will visit Oregon in April 2016 to accept the award and read from her work. She will speak at 7:30 p.m. on April 14 at the CH2M HILL Alumni Center in Corvallis and at 7:30 p.m. on April 15 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Portland. Both presentations are free and open to the public.
The $20,000 Stone Award is one of the largest prizes of its kind given by an American university. It was established in 2011 by Patrick and Vicki Stone to spotlight OSU’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program in the School of Writing, Literature and Film.
An advisory board of three active, nationally visible writers recommends five nominees who meet Stone Award criteria. From those nominees, the creative writing faculty at Oregon State University make the final selection. Joyce Carol Oates was the first honoree, in 2012; the second winner was Tobias Wolff, in 2014.