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Picture of Rita Dove
Rita Dove: Profile

Mastery of language, Frantz Fanon once wrote, affords remarkable power. The power that Rita Dove wields through her mastery of the English language was born in a modest brick house on a quiet street in Akron, Ohio. This is where Elvira and Ray Dove, by their own example, inspired in their four children a love for the pursuit of knowledge. "I would always see both my mom and my dad reading."

Ray Dove was a chemist at Goodyear for 45 years, and Elvira Dove a homemaker. They not only encouraged their children to read, Rita Dove recalled, they placed few limits, if any, on what their children read. "Whenever I went to the library and there was a book in the adult section I wanted to read, my parents would write a note that said 'Let her take out whatever she wants.'"

Rita Dove has passed on that same freedom to her daughter, Aviva. "When she reads a book that I think is too fanciful, I try to remember that no one stopped me from reading fairy tales, comic books or anything else," she said. "Just encourage the love of reading, which takes care of itself."

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