The Woman, The Place, The Poet
Eavan Boland (1944–2020) authored many books over her distinguished career, including, most recently, A Poet’s Dublin (2016) and A Woman Without a Country (2014). Other poetry volumes include Domestic Violence (2007); Against Love Poetry (2001); The Lost Land (1998); and In a Time of Violence (1994). Boland also published two books of prose: A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet (2011) and Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time (1995); she also co-edited with Mark Strand and Edward Hirsch the Norton anthologies The Making of a Sonnet (2007) and The Making of a Poem (2000). Her numerous honors include a Lannan Foundation Award in poetry and membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the Royal Irish Academy. Boland directed the creative-writing program at Stanford University.
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.
Renouncing the Tower
J. Allyn Rosser’s fourth poetry collection, Mimi’s Trapeze, appeared in 2014 from Pittsburgh University Press. Rosser has received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, and the Ohio Arts Council. She teaches at Ohio University.
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.
We have a home movie of this party. Several times my mother and I have watched it together, and I have asked questions about the silent revelers coming in and out of focus. It is grainy and of short duration, …
Judith Ortiz Cofer (1952–2016), as a young girl, emigrated with her family from Puerto Rico to Paterson, New Jersey; when she was a teenager her family relocated to Augusta. Ortiz Cofer was the author of several novels, including If I Could Fly (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011), Call Me Maria (2004), and The Line of the Sun (1989); poetry collections such as A Love Story Beginning in Spanish (2005), Reaching for the Mainland (1995), and Terms of Survival (1987); a memoir, The Cruel Country (UGA Press, 2015); two essay collections, Lessons From a Writer’s Life (Heinemann Books, 2011) and Woman in Front of the Sun: On Becoming a Writer (2000); and many other works, including three children’s titles with Piñata Books / Arte Público Press—¡A Bailar! (2011), The Poet Upstairs (2012), and Animal Jamboree / La fiesta de los animales (2012). Ortiz Cofer’s work appeared in The Georgia Review, Southern Review, the Kenyon Review, Glamour, and many other periodicals, as well as in numerous textbooks and anthologies. Ortiz Cofer, who in 2010 was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, was the Regents’ and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia.