Rita Dove was born on August 28, 1952 in Akron, Ohio. In 1973, Dove graduated with a B.A. from the Miami University. She received her Master’s Degree from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1977.
Dove taught creative writing at Arizona State University from 1981 to 1989. She received the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, and in 1993, at age 40, she was named Poet Laureate of the United States by the Librarian of Congress. Dove held the office from 1993 to 1995 as the youngest person ever to be appointed, and as the first and to date only African American.
Rita Dove served as Special Bicentennial Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress in 1999/2000. In 2004 she was appointed to a two-year position as Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth. Since 1989 she has been teaching at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she holds the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English.
Rita Dove is currently a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.