CORVALLIS, Ore. – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove, the recipient of Oregon State University’s Stone Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement, will be honored at a pair of events in Corvallis and Portland in April.
Dove, who served as poet laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995, is the 2016 recipient of the biennial Stone Award, which recognizes a major American author who has created a body of critically-acclaimed work and mentored young writers.
On Thursday, April 14, a reading and question-and-answer session with Dove will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the CH2M HILL Alumni Center, 725 S.W. 26th Ave., Corvallis. Dove also will be presented with the Stone Award at the event, which is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow.
On Friday, April 15, OSU will host a reading and conversation with Dove at 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1126 S.W. Park Ave., Portland. The event is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow.
Karen Holmberg, a poet and associate professor of English and creative writing at OSU, will lead the on-stage conversation with Dove at the Portland event.
“Rita Dove's work immerses us in the most profound human questions,” Holmberg said. “What parts of our identity do we inherit, and what parts can we build from within? What drives humans not only to love beauty but to want to create it through art and craft, even when the conditions for such creation are hostile? How are our personal histories interwoven with history?
“She's been an astute and profound teacher to some of our most remarkable younger poets, while many other readers – I count myself among them – have been inspired by her dogged pursuit of her poetic obsessions and by her poetry's warmth and imaginative reach.”
Dove has received numerous awards, including the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the 1996 National Humanities Medal and the 2011 National Medal of Arts. She is the only poet to receive both the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts. She holds the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
This year’s Stone Award events coincide with National Poetry Month, celebrated each year in April.
The Stone Award was established in 2011 by Patrick and Vicki Stone to spotlight OSU’s Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing. The honorarium for the award is $20,000, making it one of the most substantial awards for lifetime literary achievement offered by any university in the country.