A series of intimate and captivating interviews by Rachel Zucker with poets and artists about quotidian objects, experiences or obsessions, Commonplace conversations explore the recipes, advice, lists, anecdotes, quotes, politics, phobias, spiritual practices, and other non-Literary forms of knowledge that are vital to an artist’s life and work. One feels, when listening to Commonplace, the pleasure of eavesdropping on the kind of unexpected, intriguing connections that only happen when interesting people sit together in a small room and talk about their real concerns and ordinary lives.

Episode 27: Rita Dove

Episode 27: Rita Dove

Rachel Zucker talks with Rita Dove, former Poet Laureate, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, author of more than 15 books and University of Virginia professor about political poetry, creative writing programs, the usefulness of prosody, form as ‘a talisman against disintegration,’ the public intimacy of social media, her poem ‘Parsley,’ audience, code switching, why some poems are hard to read, blackness and other people’s expectations of her as a black woman, getting over the Iowa voice, narrative poetry, her book Thomas and Beulah, the myth of Persephone, Trump, motherhood, marriage, slavery, freedom, why she moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, Thomas Jefferson, being a musician and a ballroom dancer, the solace of rhyme, and embracing change.


Books by Rita Dove

Collected Poems: 1974-2004 (W.W. Norton, 2016)

Sonata Mulattica (W. W. Norton, 2010)

American Smooth (W. W. Norton, 2006)

The Darker Face of the Earth (Story Line Press, 2000)

On the Bus with Rosa Parks (W. W. Norton, 2000)

Mother Love (W. W. Norton, 1996)

Thomas and Beulah (Carnegie Mellon, 1996)

Through the Ivory Gate (Vintage, 1993)

Selected Poems (Vintage, 1993)

Museum (Carnegie Mellon, 1992)

Grace Notes (W. W. Norton, 1991)

Fifth Sunday (Callaloo, 1990)

The Yellow House on the Corner (Carnegie Mellon, 1989)

Books and Other Authors Mentioned in the Episode

Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Puffin Books, 2013)

Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days (University of Iowa Press, 2010)

A Poet’s Glossary by Edward HIrsch (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014)

The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (W. W. Norton, 2001)

Gunter Grass

Laurel Snyder

The University of Virginia MFA programCharles Wright, Gregory Orr, Lisa Russ Spaar, Paul Guest, Debra Nystrom

Rachel Zucker’s Eating in the Underworld (Wesleyan, 2003)

The Reaper Essays by Mark Jarman (Story Line Press, 1996)

Renga for Obama (organized by Major Jackson)

Tanks and the Bangas’ website and their Tiny Desk performance

Other Relevant Links

Rita Dove’s poem “Parsley”

Iowa Writers’ Workshop

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Ballroom dancing

Episode 28: Poems for Mother's Day

Episode 28: Poems for Mother's Day

Episode 26: Alice Notley

Episode 26: Alice Notley