Rita Dove, born in 1952 in Akron, Ohio, earned degrees from Miami University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her record of achievement is unprecedented. When in February 2011 she received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama, she became the first person to have received all three of the country’s highest arts distinctions—the others being the Humanities Medal and a term of service as Poet Laureate (2003–5). She has been a frequent guest of Bill Moyers’ PBS series. In 1987, she received the Pulitzer Prize for her third collection of poems, Thomas and Beulah, which is loosely based on her maternal grandparents’ lives. She also has nine other volumes of poetry: Collected Poems 1974–2004 (2016), Sonata Mulattica (2009), American Smooth (2004), On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999), Mother Love (1995), Selected Poems (1993), Grace Notes (1989), Museum (1983), and The Yellow House on the Corner (1980). She has published a collection of essays, The Poet’s World (1995); a drama, The Darker Face of the Earth: A Verse Play in Fourteen Scenes (1994); a novel, Through the Ivory Gate (1992); and a collection of short stories, Fifth Sunday (1985). She has edited two volumes, The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2011) and The Best American Poetry 2000 (2000). From 2004 to 2006, Dove served as the Poet Laureate of Virginia. She holds twenty-five honorary doctorates, is a classically trained musician (viola de gamba), and has done numerous musical collaborations, including Seven for Luck, seven poems by Rita Dove with music by John Williams, and Umoja: Each One of Us Counts, music by Alvin Singleton, commissioned by the Atlanta Olympic Summer Games. Since 1989, she has taught at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she holds the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English.
Jimmy Carter (b. 1924), former governor of Georgia and thirty-ninth president of the United States, is the author of numerous books, ranging from memoir to policy analysis to poetry. With The Hornet’s Nest (2003), a work of historical fiction, he became the first U.S. president to publish a novel. His collection of essays, Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis (2005), was a national bestseller and was honored by the Georgia Writers Association; his nonfiction book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (2006) generated international attention and some controversy. His latest books include A Remarkable Mother (2008), a memoir of Lillian Carter; We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: a Plan That Will Work (2009); White House Diary (2010); and Through the Year with Jimmy Carter: 366 Daily Meditations from the 39th President (Zondervan, 2011) with Steve Halliday. After leaving office in 1981, he founded the Carter Center in Atlanta and has remained active in international politics and human rights advocacy. In 2002 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (Inducted in 2006)
Languages I Don’t Speak
David Swanger has published four books of poetry, two chapbooks, and poems in various anthologies and journals. His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. His most recent book, Wayne’s College of Beauty (2006), won the John Ciardi Poetry Prize.
Frederick Busch (1941–2006) was a prolific short-story writer and an award-winning novelist. Professor of literature at Colgate University from 1966 to 2003, he authored twenty-seven books and more than one hundred short stories and essays. His many honors include an American Academy of Arts and Letters award for fiction in 1986 and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction in 1991.
Up-and-Down Sun: Notes on the Sacred
Reg Saner’s prose and poetry have appeared in more than a hundred and fifty literary magazines and in over sixty anthologies. Among other honors, his previous writings, all set in the American West, have won several national prizes. His poetry collection, Climbing into the Roots (1976) received the first Walt Whitman Award as conferred by the Academy of American Poets and the Copernicus Society of America. His second book, So This Is the Map (1981), was a National Poetry Series “Open Competition” winner, selected by Derek Walcott. He has won a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Creede Repertory Theater Award, the State of Colorado Governor’s Award, and has been an invited Resident Scholar at the Rockefeller Fondazione Culturale in Bellagio, Italy, and received the Wallace Stegner Award conferred by the Center of the American West.
All Hallows Eve
Kathryn Stripling Byer received the 2013 North Carolina Book Award and the 2013 Southern Independent Booksellers Award for Poetry for her most recent collection, Descent (Louisiana State University Press, 2012). A native of south Georgia, she recently completed five years as North Carolina’s first woman poet laureate. Frequently anthologized, her poetry, essays, and fiction have appeared in publications ranging from the Atlantic to Appalachian Heritage.