Wallace Stevens Winner/Guest Speaker for Dr Martin Luther King Jr Commemoration – Poetry News Roundup December 5th

Today in our poetry news round-up, we take a look at the poet Rita Dove who is the winner of this years Wallace Stevens award. We also look at the guest speaker for the 35th Annual Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration.

$100k Literary Award Won By Rita Dove

CAMBRIDGE, MA – OCTOBER 22: Award recipient Rita Dove is seen on stage at the 2019 Hutchins Center Honors W.E.B. Du Bois Medal Ceremony at Harvard University on October 22, 2019 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 2019 award recipients included Sheila Johnson, Lonnie Bunch, Elizabeth Alexander, Kerry James Marshall, Rita Dove, Robert Smith and Queen Latifah. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

Rita Dove, the former U.S. Poet laureate was recently presented with the celebrated Wallace Stevens Award by the Academy of American Poets. She joins a list of well-known poets who have previously won the award including John Ashbery, W.S. Merwin and Sonia Sanchez who won the award last year.

This is an annual award that carries a prize of $100,000. It is given in recognition of “outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.” The award is named after the poet Wallace Stevens. The prize which was established in 1994 was originally named after it benefactor Dorothea Tanning.

Earlier this year Dove was also awarded the W.E.B DuBois Medal by Harvard University.

From 1993 to 1995 Dove, who is now 67 served as the poet laureate of the United States. She was also a recipient of a Pulitzer prize in 1987. Now a teacher of English at the University of Virginia, where she has been since 1989, she is also the only poet who has ever been awarded the honour of a National Humanities Medal and National Medal of Arts.

Her career as a poet has been a lengthy one, during which she has published 10 poetry collections, the most recent of which was in 2016. She is known for her “one-of-a-kind lyricism” which takes in a variety of topics including political events and notable historic occurrences.

She is also the author of a collection of short stories which was published in 1992.

From 2004 to 2006 Dove served as the poet laureate in Virginia.

 35th Annual Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration

The poet, activist and writer Nikki Giovanni has been announced as the guest speaker for this years Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration which will take place at Appalachian State University on 13th January.

During the course of the past 30 years, Giovanni has become well known for her work as an activist, she is somewhat outspoken in both her lectures and her writing. She is one of the most-read poets in America at the moment and is immensely proud to be a professor of English, a mother, daughter and a Black American. She fights for equality and civil rights and is a very strong voice within the Black community.

She is the author of over 30 books, aimed at both children and adults, and has amassed many awards and honours. She also holds a staggering 25 honorary degrees and has also been named as a woman of the year by multiple publications. She was the first person to be awarded the Rosa L.Parks Woman of Courage award and is also a recipient of the Langston Hughes Medal for poetry.

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