The Eye of Heaven

Gospel

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.

Jairus’ Daughter

American Theater Watch, 1983–1984

Gerald Weales’s “American Theater Watch” appeared in these pages from 1978 until 2010, and we have also featured on occasion his essays and reviews on topics that have included World War II and the early-career political cartoons of one Theodore Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss). In addition to his distinguished career as an author and drama specialist, Weales was a longtime professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he retired in 1987; a senior Fulbright scholar at the University of Sri Lanka; and the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship.

“from” Epistles

Judson Mitcham’s most recent collection is A Little Salvation: Poems Old and New (University of Georgia Press, 2007). He is the current poet laureate of Georgia.

Sir Thomas More in the Hall of Languages

The Night of the Acacia

The Inheritance

Jim Peterson is the author of five poetry collections, three chapbooks, and a novel; his newest collection, Original Face, was released by Gunpowder Press in October 2015. Peterson’s poems have appeared widely in such journals as Poetry, Shenandoah, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, South Dakota Review, and Cave Wall. He lives with his charismatic corgi, Mama Kilya, in Lynchburg, Virginia.

A Clean Undecorated Hall

Jim Peterson is the author of five poetry collections, three chapbooks, and a novel; his newest collection, Original Face, was released by Gunpowder Press in October 2015. Peterson’s poems have appeared widely in such journals as Poetry, Shenandoah, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, South Dakota Review, and Cave Wall. He lives with his charismatic corgi, Mama Kilya, in Lynchburg, Virginia.